TRIBUTES were yesterday paid to a former judge who was remembered for trying to seek the truth for victims of the Troubles.
Mr Justice Henry Barron was critical of the British and Irish governments and security forces in several reports he wrote on atrocities during the ’70s.
The 81-year-old passed away after a short illness at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin on Thursday evening.
Margaret Urwin, of campaign group Justice for the Forgotten, said Judge Barron was a decent man who made a difference to people’s lives.
“He took on the inquiry into the Dublin Monaghan bombings and he worked hard on it for three years,” she said.
“He was determined to get as much information as possible.
“He wasn’t afraid to name names, he wasn’t afraid to criticise the Irish and British governments, and he wasn’t afraid of the security forces north or south.”
Taoiseach Brian Cowen expressed his condolences to the judge’s children and wider family.
He said Judge Barron had a long and distinguished career at both the high and supreme courts.
“As the sole member of the Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 and into a number of other bombings and atrocities which occurred in this state during the 1970s, he undertook his task with great sensitivity and thoroughness,” he added.
Judge Barron spent 15 years as a High Court judge and made history by granting Ireland’s first divorce in 1997. He was appointed to the Supreme Court later that year.
After retiring from the bench in 2000, he was commissioned by the Government to probe the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 when 34 people, including an unborn baby, died. No one was ever prosecuted.
Ms Urwin added: “The British security forces, the State and the Cosgrave coalition all came in for heavy criticisms from Judge Barron. It gave families some sort of closure.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved