'A life-long commitment to human rights': Former Supreme Court Judge Donal Barrington dies

Former Supreme Court Judge and first President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Donal Barrington, has died.

A founding member of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Mr Barrington was involved in many groundbreaking constitutional cases.

ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said: “Throughout an outstanding career in the law and in public life, Donal Barrington exemplified the finest qualities of our independent bar and judiciary.

"Combining exceptional intellectual ability and a deep commitment to social justice and public service, Donal was rightly held in the highest esteem and greatest affection by all who had the good fortune to know him," he added.

Donal Barrington. Photo: Maxwells

Members of the ICCL extended their sympathies to Mr Barrington's wife Eileen, his family and "wide circle of friends".

"As a barrister, his advocacy for May McGee, Leon Nicolaou and Kathleen Byrne were just some highlights of the many groundbreaking constitutional cases he acted in," Mr Herrick added.

"As a judge his reputation as a fierce and independent defender of the fundamental rights provisions of Bunreacht na hÉireann was well deserved.

"As first President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Donal had the opportunity to give expression to his life-long commitment to human rights – a role he fulfilled with great success, helping to establish the Commission (which has now become the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission) as a strong independent voice in Irish society.

"Donal also displayed a passionate commitment to the public space and to the respectful exchange of ideas throughout his life. In his retirement, he continued to play an active part in public life, playing a significant role in public debates around a number of constitutional referenda over recent years.”

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