Saturday 24 March 2018

Court tributes to the country's first DPP who was from Ballymote

Paul Deering

Warm tributes to the late Eamonn Barnes, a native of Ballymote who became the country's first Director of Public Prosecutions, were led by Judge Keenan Johnson at Sligo Circuit Court.

Judge Johnson, himself a native of the South Sligo town, said Mr Barnes, who was born in 1934 and who was called to the bar in 1958 and practised on the Midland circuit becoming DPP in 1975, had blazed a trail in the legal profession. Judge Johnson said the leadership which Mr Barnes gave was exemplary .

"He was a kind, affable man who wore his achievements lightly," said the Judge who described himself as a personal friend of the late Mr Barnes who was the son of two school teachers in Ballymote.

The Judge added: "His passing is a huge loss to the legal profession and to Sligo with which he kept close links." The Judge said Mr Barnes kept in touch with the Ballymote Heritage Group and returned from Dublin to meet up with them each August.

"He will not be forgotten and may he Rest in Peace," said the Judge.

Judge Johnson extended sympathy to the Barnes family and in particular to his son, Joe, who is a practising barrister on the Midland Circuit and who was present in Court. Mr Colm Smyth SC, on behalf of the Bar, said it had been a great honour for the Midland Circuit when Mr Barnes was appointed DPP and he went on to set the standards.

State Solicitor Mr Hugh Sheridan said he knew Mr Barnes as his boss for a number of years before his retirement. He was a very learned man and blazed a trail as the country's first DPP. He was a man of energy, a very friendly man and one felt happy always in his company.

On behalf of the Sligo Solicitors' Association, Mr Declan Gallagher said Mr Barnes had created a legacy for the way in which he set up the office of the DPP. Sympathy was also extended by Treena Heever on behalf of the Courts Service. Mr Joe Barnes BL thanked everyone for their kind remarks about his late father.

Sligo Champion