Skip to main content

Statement by the Tánaiste on Ireland v UK 1978 case


Statement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D. on Ireland v UK 1978 case

"I have noted the decision today by the panel of judges of the European Court of Human Rights not to refer to the Grand Chamber of the Court, the Government’s application for a revision of the judgment in the Ireland v UK 1978 case, following the ruling at first instance on 20 March.

The Government contended in the light of new evidence that emerged that this treatment constituted torture, in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and made an application for revision of the judgment in December 2014.

It is important to say that nothing in the panel decision today or the Court’s ruling on 20 March last altered the Court’s original 1978 judgment that the victims in the case suffered inhuman and degrading treatment, in breach of Article 3 of the Convention.

I recognise that the outcome on the revision application will be deeply disappointing for the men who were the victims of that treatment and who have had to deal with the long-lasting effects.

I had the privilege of meeting with a group of the men and their family members on 24 April. The men have campaigned with dignity and determination for many years for the appalling suffering they endured in 1971 to be confirmed as torture. The Government shares that view, which is why it sought the revision of the judgment in 2014.

I also wish to acknowledge on behalf of the Government that the men’s campaign was founded on a wish to ensure that the brutal treatment they suffered could never be referred to as anything short of torture, in order to maintain human rights standards for all.

Their long campaign is one of dignity, of compassion and of an inextinguishable belief in the universality of human rights, enduring through the deepest of suffering and the darkest of events.

I have directed my Department to meet with the men and their legal representatives to brief them in full on the outcome of the proceedings taken by Ireland at the European Court of Human Rights in the Ireland v UK case."


Press Office
11 September 2018