Thursday 21 June 2018

Donal Barrington's legacy

The late Donal Barrington. Photo: Donal Doherty
The late Donal Barrington. Photo: Donal Doherty
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir - I thoroughly enjoyed Eoghan Harris's tribute to the late Donal Barrington (Sunday Independent, January 7). Mr Harris gives a riveting account of one particular aspect of Mr Barrington's career, namely the visionary role he played in highlighting the awfulness of the "ill-conceived and ill-considered" boycott of the tiny Protestant community in Fethard-on-Sea in 1957.

I came across Mr Barrington once in the 1970s. At the time, I was involved as a member of The Friends of Medieval Dublin, led by the late, great FX Martin in a forlorn effort to save the Viking archaeological site at Wood Quay.

A marathon "battle" was fought on the streets and in the courts. It was very much a case of David facing Goliath as our tiny group, which challenged the might of Dublin Corporation, aided and abetted by the government of the day. At the time, Barrington was the leading senior counsel in the State and he agreed to act on behalf of a near-penniless group of activists in drawn-out proceedings in the High and Supreme Courts. Though we lost that battle, in the long term we won the war. Mr Barrington should forever be remembered for the visionary and selfless role he played in the events of that time.

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