Hooded Men case now to be referred to Grand Chamber by Irish Government

We act for Mary McKenna, who is a daughter of Sean McKenna. Mr. McKenna was one of the “Hooded Men” who was subjected to ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights at the hands of members of the British Security Forces in 1971.

The treatment of Sean McKenna and the other men led the Irish Government to bring the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 1978 that Sean McKenna and the other men had been subject to inhuman and degrading treatment, but not torture.

Following a large number of documents being received by the Irish Government in 2014, which had not been disclosed by the British Government at the time of the original hearing, the Irish Government sought a revision of the original ruling made by the Court in 1978.

The request for revision of the Judgement was refused by the European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Chamber on 20 March 2018. Following this refusal, there is a strict 3 month period in which Ireland may seek to refer this decision to the “Grand Chamber” which is composed of 17 Judges as opposed to 7 Judges.

An application seeking permission from the High Court to Judicially Review the delay in the Irish Government in making this decision was lodged yesterday by our office.

Michael Halleron from Madden & Finucane said:

“I have received a call from the Department of Foreign Affairs to inform me that a decision has been made by the Irish Government to refer the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.

“This is a significant decision. A referral to the Grand Chamber allows Ms. McKenna on behalf of her father, as well as the other applicants, another opportunity for the Judgement made in 1978 to be revised, insofar as the five techniques on persons interned in Northern Ireland in 1971 constituted inhuman and degrading treatment but not torture.”


Note: Mary McKenna is currently represented by CAJ in Court of Appeal proceedings awaiting judgment from the NI Court of Appeal. Please contact CAJ on 028 9031 6000 for any media enquiries.