Henry Barron (judge)

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Henry Barron
Judge of the Supreme Court
In office
1 June 1997 – 21 May 2000
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMary Robinson
Judge of the High Court
In office
20 December 1982 – 30 May 1997
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byPatrick Hillery
Personal details
Born(1928-05-25)25 May 1928
Dalkey, Dubin, Ireland
Died25 February 2010(2010-02-25) (aged 81)
Merrion Road, Dublin, Ireland
Resting placeBallybough Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland
Spouse(s)Rosalind Barron
(m. 1956; d. 1997)
EducationSaint Columba's College
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin

Henry Barron (25 May 1928 – 25 February 2010) was an Irish judge who served as a Judge of the Supreme Court from 1997 to 2000 and a Judge of the High Court from 1982 to 1997.[1]

He was popularly known for granting Ireland's first divorce in 1997, and for his investigation into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. His report on the bombings became known as the Barron Report, and it made a contribution towards the 2005 Commission of Investigation: Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 1974.

He was President of the Irish Jewish Museum.[2]


Barron attended Castle Park School in Dalkey, Dublin, before progressing to Saint Columba's College, Rathfarnham.[3] He studied at third level in Trinity College, Dublin. Upon his departure in 1950 Barron scored first class honours and was awarded a moderatorship in legal science.[3] In 1951 he began the Bar and silk followed nineteen years later.[3]

In 1982, he was nominated by Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald to become a judge of the High Court. He served in the High Court for fifteen years.[4] In 1997, Taoiseach John Bruton and the 24th Government of Ireland nominated Judge Barron as a judge of the Supreme Court. Upon his appointment to the court, he granted the state's first divorce.[4][5] He was the first Jew ever appointed to the Irish Supreme Court.[3]

Retirement and Barron Report[edit]

Judge Barron retired in 2000.[4] He was then commissioned to investigate the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings and Judge Liam Hamilton replaced him in the Supreme Court. He retired from the bench due to ill health.[3] He investigated bombing incidents in Castleblayney, Dundalk, Dublin Airport, the Miami Showband murders and the deaths of eighteen other individuals.[5] His report, termed The Barron Report and presented to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice in December 2003, was highly critical of the investigation into the bombings by both the Fine Gael-Labour government and the Gardaí,[4][6] and stated they might have made a better attempt to catch those responsible.[5] He did not lay any definitive blame on the British Government.[4]


Barron died at the age of 81 in St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, on 25 February 2010,[4] having been unwell for a short time.[4] His wife Rosalind had predeceased him by 13 years.[3] 2 sons (Harrie & Robert), 2 daughters (Jane & Anne) and 10 grandchildren outlived him.[4][5] Barron's funeral took place at Dolphin's Barn's Jewish cemetery on 26 February 2010.[3][7]

After his death tributes were made by politicians and campaigners for justice:

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. Tribute from Taoiseach Brian Cowen[8]

As a member of the Oireachtas Committee which subsequently held hearings based on the investigation carried out by Mr Justice Barron, I came to fully appreciate extent the scope of the work he had undertaken and the demands placed on his. He showed great commitment in the search for the truth about these events and in his dealing with the families he displayed exceptional understanding and sensitivity. It was as a result of the refusal of the British authorities to cooperate in full with the investigation, rather than any failings on the part of Henry Barron, that those responsible have still not been brought to justice. Tribute from Joe Costello (Labour)[3]

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 of the border. The British security forces, the state and the Cosgrave coalition all came for heavy criticisms from Judge Barron. It gave families some sort of closure. Tribute from Margaret Urwin (Justice for the Forgotten)[9]


  1. ^ "Respected judge who led bomb inquiries". The Irish Times. The Irish Times Trust. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  2. ^ Jewish life in Dublin Archived 6 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Former Supreme Court judge dies". The Irish Times. The Irish Times Trust. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Former Supreme Court judge Henry Barron dies". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. RTÉ. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d "Dublin-Monaghan bombs investigator Judge Barron dies". BBC News. BBC. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  6. ^ Dublin and Monaghan bombings: Cover-up and incompetence, by Joe TiernanThe Village, Wednesday, 2 May 2007[dead link]
  7. ^ "In Short: Former judge of Supreme Court Henry Barron dies". The Irish Times. The Irish Times Trust. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Taoiseach leads tributes after judge Barron dies". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Tributes to 'truth-seeking' judge". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.

External links[edit]