Judge Desmond Zaidan rose from the bench to find out why Athy Courthouse was cold this morning, despite what he called a "state-of-the-art" underfloor heating system.

He agreed to a request from solicitor Conal Boyce to adjourn for 20 minutes to allow members of the public, defendants, gardaí and solicitors get a warm drink.

However, he did not agree to a suggestion from another solicitor that the entire list be adjourned, saying it would only make court business more difficult later.

He said his chamber was colder than the main body of the court.

Radiators were piping hot in older parts of building, and when the judge adjourned at midday, the underfloor heating appeared to have come on, but the double height courtroom was bitterly cold.

The judge said that perhaps there had been an issue with the timer on the heating system, and that the court caretaker had done his best.

Members of the public wore scarves and hats and sniffled and coughed through the morning session, before the judge decided to adjourn briefly.

He said the cold was unacceptable and wrong for the public, who were as cold as he was.

Attempts were made to plug in a heater at the bench for Judge Zaidan, though this appeared not to work and the judge said other people feel the cold as much as he does.

He also noted how during the summer, the courthouse is sometimes swelteringly hot and questioned the use of resources.