The "Hooded Men"- Irish State case

In 1978 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held that the British government had violated Article 3 of the European Commission on Human Rights in their treatment of 14 men in 1971. These "Hooded Men" had been selected for 5 techniques of "Deep Interrogation" - white noise, wall standing/ stress positions, sleep deprivation, bread and water diet, and hooding. The ECtHR found this amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, but not torture.


Declassified British government documents uncovered by the PFC & RTE suggest information was withheld from the ECtHR by the British government and that Cabinet ministers authorised and sanctioned the use of "torture" during the interrogation of the Hooded Men. Evidence from the documents can also link the premature death of one of the men, Sean McKenna, to the interrogation techniques he was subjected to.

The evidence was presented to the Irish government who has asked the European Court of Human Rights to revisit their original findings in light of this new information.

The "Hooded Men" were Jim Auld, Pat Shivers, Joe Clarke, Michael Donnelly, Kevin Hannaway, Paddy Joe McLean, Francie McGuigan, Patrick McNally, Sean McKenna, Gerry McKerr, Michael Montgomery, Davy Rodgers, Liam Shannon and Brian Turley.

For further background reading see:

Anne Cadwallader, Morning Star, 1 April 2017

Susan McKay, Irish Times, 25 July 2015

Rita O'Reilly, Irish Times, 12 June 2014


Memo to Prime Minister from Merlyn Rees, British Home Secretary, March 1977643.23 KB Dr Leigh's medical report following examination of Sean McKenna, 20 June 1975934.84 KB