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Judge Donal Barrington


Judge Donal Barrington ordered Osgur Breatnach’s release on his appeal. Later he helped found the Irish Council for Civil Liberties which calls for a public inquiry into the Sallins Case.

Barrington was one of two High Court Judges who presided over the Breatnach appeal against his sentence and conviction in the Sallins Case. He ordered Breatnach’s immediate release from jail when he ruled Breatnach 

  • had been in illegal custody at the time of arrest
  • Was questioned for 40 hours
  • Was refused a solicitor although repeatedly requested
  • Was disturbed from sleep
  • Was questioned in a menacing tunnel
  • had only one night’s sleep
  • Interviewing rules and regulations were ignored by Gardai
  • Overall, questioning of Breatnach didn’t pass test of fairness.

Taken together they equalled oppression, he said.

Oppression equals torture according to international law. 

He served as a High Court judge from 1979 to 1989, on the European Court from 1989 to 1996 and the Supreme Court 1996 to 2000.

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