AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

                      Application No. 12839/87
                      by Thomas ECCLES and Others
                      against Ireland


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private
on 9 December 1988, the following members being present:

              MM. C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                  S. TRECHSEL
                  E. BUSUTTIL
                  A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                  A. WEITZEL
                  J.-C. SOYER
                  H.G. SCHERMERS
                  H. DANELIUS
                  J. CAMPINOS
                  H. VANDENBERGHE
             Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
             Sir  Basil HALL
             MM.  F. MARTINEZ
                  C.L. ROZAKIS
             Mrs.  J. LIDDY

             Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER Secretary to the Commission

        Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

        Having regard to the application introduced on 27 March 1986
by Thomas Eccles and Others against Ireland and registered
on 1 April 1987 under file No. 12839/87;

        Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the
Rules of Procedure of the Commission;

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

        The first applicant, Mr.  Thomas Eccles, was born in 1959
and is a glazier by profession.  The second applicant, Mr.  Patrick
McPhillips, was born in 1955 and is a labourer by profession.  The
third applicant, Mr.  Brian McShane, was born in 1964 and is also
a labourer by profession.  All of the applicants are Irish citizens
and are at present detained in Portlaoise prison, Ireland.  The
applicants are represented before the Commission by Mr.  Desmond Lavery
of Lavery & McGahon, Solicitors, Dundalk, and Messrs.  R. Mackey S.C.,
P. McEntee S.C. and P. Gageby B.L., of counsel.

        The facts are not in dispute between the parties and may be
summarised as follows:

        In August 1984 the applicants were arrested and subsequently
charged before the Special Criminal Court in Ireland for the offence
of capital murder and robbery.  They were accused inter alia of
robbing a post office and killing a member of the police force.

        The applicants applied to the High Court on 22 February
1985 for an interim order prohibiting their trial before the Special
Criminal Court on the ground that it was not an independent court.
The application was refused by Mr.  Justice Barrington in the High Court
on 22 February 1985.  An appeal to the Supreme Court against this
decision was refused on 25 February 1985.

        The trial of the applicants commenced on 25 February 1985 and
concluded on 28 March 1985.  Each applicant was found guilty of
capital murder and robbery and sentenced to death on the first charge
and twelve years' imprisonment on the second charge.

        At the conclusion of the trial the applicants sought a
declaration before the High Court that Section 39 of the Offences
Against the State Act 1939 was unconstitutional insofar as it permitted
the trial of a criminal offence by a court which was not independent.
This application was rejected by Mr.  Justice Barrington on 12 July 1985.
An appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected on 1 November 1985.

        Relevant domestic law and practice concerning the Special
        Criminal Court

        The Special Criminal Court was established for the first time
in 1939 and remained in existence until 1962.  In 1972, due to the
troubles in Northern Ireland, the Government invoked its powers to
establish a Special Criminal Court under Part V of 1939 Act.  Part
V of 1939 Act does not come into force unless the Government is
satisfied "that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the
effective administration of justice and the preservation of public
peace and order and publishes a Proclamation to this effect".

        A panel of judges is appointed by the Government to the
Special Criminal Court.  The panel consisted of eleven members in 1977
and was reduced to nine members in 1984.

        Sub-sections 1-4 of Section 39 of 1939 Act provide as
follows:


1.  Every Special Criminal Court established under this part
    of this Act shall consist of such uneven number (not being
    less than three) of members as the Government shall from
    time to time determine, and different numbers of members
    may be so fixed in respect of different Special Criminal
    Courts.

2.  Each member of a Special Criminal Court shall be
    appointed, and be removed at will by the Government.

3.  No persons shall be appointed to be a member of a Special
    Criminal Court unless he is a Judge of the High Court or
    the Circuit Court or a Justice of the District Court or a
    Barrister of not less than 7 years standing or a Solicitor
    of not less than 7 years standing, or an officer of the
    Defence Forces not below the rank of Commandant.

4.  The Minister for Finance may pay to every member of a
    Special Criminal Court such (if any) remuneration and
    allowances as the said Minister may think proper and
    different rates of remuneration and allowances may
    be so paid to different members of any such Court, or
    to the members of different such Courts."

        Section 40 of 1939 Act provides that the determination of
the Special Criminal Court is to be according to the opinion of the
majority and the existence or content of individual opinions, whether
assenting or dissenting, is not to be disclosed.  Section 41 provides
that the Special Criminal Court shall have power to regulate its own
sittings and shall have control of its own procedure in all respects
and that it shall, with the concurrence of the Minister for Justice,
make rules for this purpose.  The Special Criminal Court Rules 1972
(Statutory Instrument No. 147 of 1972) were made in accordance with
this Section and came into operation on 12 June 1972.  They were
replaced by the Special Criminal Court Rules 1975 (Statutory
Instrument No. 234 of 1975).  Section 53 of 1939 Act provides for the
immunity from any action, prosecution or other proceedings, civil or
criminal, of members of the Special Criminal Court.

        Section 43 of 1939 Act gives the Special Criminal Court
jurisdiction to try and to convict or acquit any person lawfully
brought before the Court.  It also confers ancillary jurisdictions
such as the power to sentence convicted persons to suffer the punishment
provided by law in respect of the offence in question and the power
to admit to bail, and to administer oaths.

        Section 44 of 1939 Act provides that convictions or
sentences of a Special Criminal Court are subject to appeal to the
Court of Criminal Appeal in the same way as convictions or sentences
of the Central Criminal Court.  Furthermore, in the case of The
State (Coveney) v.  Members of the Special Criminal Court [1982]
ILRM 284, the Special Criminal Court was treated as an inferior court
for the purpose of the order of prohibition so as to be subject to the
supervisory control of the High Court in the exercise of its
jurisdiction, including the power of the High Court to prohibit it from
taking any action contrary to the law or inconsistent with its powers.

        The rules of evidence which apply in the ordinary courts also
apply in the Special Criminal Court, apart from the provisions of the
Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act 1976, permitting the taking of
evidence on commission in Northern Ireland (cf.  Section 11 of 1976
Act).

        The provisions of 1939 Act dealing with the establishment
procedures and powers of the Special Criminal Court were enacted
pursuant to the provisions of Article 38.3 of the Constitution which
provides:

"1°.  Special courts may be established by law for the trial
of offences in cases where it may be determined in
accordance with such law that the ordinary courts are
inadequate to secure the effective administration of
justice, and the preservation of public peace and order.

2°.   The constitution, powers, jurisdiction and procedure
of such special courts shall be prescribed by law."

Section 6 of Article 38 of the Constitution provides that:

"The provisions of Articles 34 and 35 of this Constitution
shall not apply to any court or tribunal set up under
section 3 or section 4 of this Article."

        Article 35 contains constitutional guarantees of the
independence of the judiciary.  In particular sub-sections 2 and 5
provide:

"2°.   All judges shall be independent in the exercise
of their judicial functions and subject only to this
Constitution and the law.

5°.   The remuneration of a judge shall not be reduced
during his continuance in office."

        In its decision of 1 November 1985 (Eccles and Others v.
Ireland, the Attorney-General and Others [1986] ILRM 343), the Supreme
Court found that the above guarantees of judicial independence did not
apply to persons sitting as members of the Special Criminal Court but
that this did not resolve the issue as to whether that court lacked
judicial independence.  The Supreme Court referred to a previous
decision of the Court in which it had been held that the presumption
of constitutionality carried with it the presumption that
"proceedings, procedures, discretions and adjudications" provided for
in legislation are to be conducted in accordance with the principles
of constitutional justice.  Any departure from these principles would
be restrained and corrected by the courts.  Chief Justice Finlay
added:

"This principle applies to the powers granted to the
Government and to the Minister, respectively, by these
sub-sections.  If either of these authorities were to seek
to exercise its power in a manner capable of interfering
with the judicial independence of the Court, in the trial of
persons charged before it, it would be attempting to
frustrate the constitutional right of persons accused
before that Court to a trial in due course of law.  Any such
attempt would be prevented and corrected by the courts
established under the Constitution.  Whilst, therefore, the
Special Criminal Court does not attract the express
guarantees of judicial independence contained in Article 35
of the Constitution, it does have, derived from the
Constitution, a guarantee of independence in the carrying
out of its functions.

The Court is, therefore, satisfied that the plaintiffs have
not established that S. 39 of the Act of 1939 is invalid,
having regard to the provisions of the Constitution and this
appeal must, therefore, be dismissed."

        The applicants then appealed against their conviction and
sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal which dismissed their appeal on
10 February 1986.  The Court of Criminal Appeal also refused on the
same date an application for a certificate under Section 29 of the Courts
of Justice Act 1924 enabling the applicants to appeal to the Supreme Court.
An application was subsequently made to the Attorney General for a
certificate of leave to appeal on a point of law of exceptional public
importance.  This was refused by letter of 19 August 1986.

        In the meantime, on 21 February 1986, the President of Ireland
remitted the death sentences imposed on each of the applicants and
substituted sentences of forty years' imprisonment.

        The court which tried the applicants was constituted by
Mr.  Justice Hamilton, President of the High Court of Ireland,
His Honour Judge Desmond, a judge of the Circuit Court of Ireland, and
Mr.  Cathal O'Flynn, a former President of the District Court.
Mr.  O'Flynn had retired as President of the District Court in 1979, a
post which he had held since 1961.  As a member of the Special
Criminal Court he continued to be paid the same salary as that which
he received as President of the District Court.

        COMPLAINTS

        The applicants point out that Section 39 of the Offences Against
the State Act 1939 provides that the judges of the Special Criminal Court
are removable at the will of the Government and that the amount of their
salaries is within the discretion of the Minister for Finance.

        The applicants complain they were tried by a court that was not
independent in fact or in law in breach of Article 6 para. 1 of the
Convention.  They point out that they were tried by a court composed of
judges who had no judicial tenure in the court.

        They base their case on sub-sections 2 and 4 of Section 39
contending that the separate or combined effect of these two
sub-sections was to deprive persons sitting as members of the Special
Criminal Court of judicial independence and that persons tried before
that court were deprived of the right to a trial in due course of law
guaranteed by Article 38.1 of the Constitution.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

        The application was introduced on 27 March 1986 and registered
on 1 April 1987.   On 8 October 1987 the Commission decided that
notice should be given to the respondent Government of the application
and that the Government should be invited to submit written
observations on the admissibility and merits of the application in so
far as it raised issues under Article 6 paragraph 1 of the Convention.
These observations were submitted on 8 March 1988.  The applicants'
observations in reply were received on 3 June 1988.  The Government
submitted comments on these observations in reply on 11 July 1988.



SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES

        The respondent Government

        The respondent Government note that the independence and
impartiality of the individual members of the Special Criminal Court
are not at issue in the present application and that there has been no
suggestion that the applicants did not receive a fair trial on account
of any absence of personal independence in any member of that court.
Furthermore, the Government submit that there is no question but that
the Special Criminal Court is wholly independent in fact and in law of
the Executive in its functioning and of the parties in matters
considered by it.

        Facts

        While the respondent Government recognise that the issue to
be determined relates primarily to Section 39 (2) and (4) of the
Offences against the State Act 1939, it nevertheless wishes to rebut
any assertion that might be made that Mr.  O'Flynn was retired at the
time of his appointment and that he was therefore not validly
appointed to the Special Criminal Court under Section 39 (3) of that
Act.  The Government point out that Mr.  O'Flynn was correctly and
validly appointed to the Court during his tenure in office as
President of the District Court, and that it is established that
Section 39 (3) of 1939 Act does not require that he should have
requalified for continuing membership upon his retirment from the
District Court (State (McGlinchey) v.  Governor of Portlaoise Prison,
unreported decision of the High Court, 14 December 1987).

        Furthermore, Mr.  O'Flynn did not receive any additional
remuneration as a member of the Special Criminal Court for as long as
he continued to hold the position of President of the District Court.
Upon his retirement from this latter position, he continued to be paid
the same salary at the then current rate as he had received before his
retirement as President of the District Court, until he ceased to be a
member of the Special Court on 4 September 1986 at the age of 77.

        Domestic law and practice

        The Government submit that it is clear from the relevant
provisions of the Constitution, from the text of Part V of the
Offences against the State Act 1939 and from the Supreme Court
decision in the applicants' case of 1 November 1985 (Eccles v.
Ireland [1986] ILRM 343), that the independence and impartiality of
the Special Criminal Court is wholly guaranteed under Irish law.

        In particular, the Court must exercise its functions with
constitutional propriety and with due regard to natural justice (Burke
v.  Minister for Labour [1979] IR 354).  Furthermore, Article 38.6 of
the Constitution does not take away the High Court's power to exercise
a "superintendence" of the Special Criminal Court in this respect
(State (Coveney) v.  Members of the Special Criminal Court [1982] ILRM
284, and Attorney General v.  Connolly [1947] IR 213).  Moreover,
the above-cited decision of the Supreme Court establishes that, if the
Government or the Minister for Finance were to seek to exercise their
powers under Section 39 (2) or (4) of 1939 Act in a manner capable of
interfering with the judicial independence of the Special Criminal
Court in the trial of persons charged before it, they would be
attempting to frustrate the constitutional rights of persons accused
before that Court to a trial in due course of law and any such attempt
would be restrained and corrected by the superior courts (cf.  East
Donegal Co-operative Livestock Marts Ltd. v.  Attorney General [1970]
IR341).

        The Government further point out that as the Special Criminal
Court iself has not been set up for any determined period and as it
may at any time be dissolved by a resolution of Dail Eireann under
Section 35 (5) of 1939 Act, the membership of the Special Criminal
Court is not and cannot be fixed with regard to security of tenure as
is the case with the ordinary courts.

        The Government submit further that, their actions in relation
to the Special Criminal Court are effectively confined to nominating
the panel of members.  Since 1972, this panel has been entirely
composed of serving or retired members of the judiciary and, since
Sepember 1986, wholly of serving members of the ordinary courts.
Beyond this, the Government submit that they have no control over how
the Court conducts its business.

        In this connection, the Government draw particular attention
to the following guarantees of the court's independence.  Section 40
of 1939 Act obliges the Court to deliver a single judgment, so
the Government are not privy to the individual opinions of members of
the court in particular cases.  Section 41 of that Act provides that
the Special Criminal Court shall have power to regulate its own
sittings and to have control of its own procedure in all respects.  The
Court has adopted its own rules of procedure for this purpose (S.I.
No. 234 of 1975).  Furthermore, appeals may be taken to the ordinary
courts of appeal against conviction and sentence in the same way as
appeals from ordinary courts (Section 44 of 1939 Act).  In addition,
with one minor exception, there are no rules of evidence which apply
to the Special Criminal Court which do not also apply to the ordinary
courts.  Finally, Section 53 of 1939 Act provides that members of the
Court are immune from civil proceedings and criminal prosecution in
respect of acts done by them as members.

        As regards the powers of the Minister for Finance under Section
39(4) of 1939 Act, the Government submit that there is a practice
of maintaining the previous salary at the then current rate of any
members of the Special Criminal Court who are retiring from another
judicial office.  The facts of the present application disclose that
this was the position for the only member of the Court as constituted in
the applicants' case who had so retired from other judical office i.e.
Mr.  O'Flynn, the former President of the District Court.  In the
Government's submission, the exercise of the Minister's powers under
Section 39(4), rather than cutting across the independence of the
Special Criminal Court, serves only to promote and to preserve its
independence in accordance with the principles inherent in Article
35.5 of the Irish Constitution.

        Article 26 of the Convention

        The Government submit that, as the personal independence of
the individual members of the Special Criminal Court was not
questioned in the course of the domestic proceedings in the Irish
courts, any allegations concerning their personal independence must be
rejected as inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies
under Article 26 of the Convention.

        Article 6(1) of the Convention

        The Government note that in their decision as to admissibility
in the case of X and Y v.  Ireland (No. 8299/78, Dec. 10.10.80, D.R. 22
p. 51, at para. 19), the Commission considered that the Special
Criminal Court sitting in the applicants' case was independent and
impartial within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention.

        The Government further observe that the term "independent" in
that Article has been interpreted by the Commission and by the Court
as comprising two elements, namely a court's independence from the
executive on the one hand and its independence from the parties on the
other (cf.  Eur.  Court H.R., Ringeisen judgment, 16 July 1971, Series A
No. 13, para. 95).  In the light of all the considerations of domestic
law and practice outlined above, the Special Criminal Court is clearly
independent of the executive in its functioning and of the parties in
matters considered by it.  In this connection, particular attention is
drawn to the established jurisprudence of the Supreme Court that
whilst the Special Criminal Court does not attract the express
guarantees of judicial independence contained in Article 35 of the
Irish Constitution, it does have, derived from the Constitution, a
guarantee of independence in the carrying out of its functions.  This
guarantee prevails over any inconsistent application of Section 39 (2)
or (4) of 1939 Act by the Government or by the Minister for
Finance respectively.  The Government also stress that as the Special
Criminal Court itself has not been set up for any determined period
and as it may at any time cease to exist by resolution of Dail Eireann
under Section 35 (5) of 1939 Act, the membership of the Special
Criminal Court is not and cannot be fixed with regard to security of
tenure as is the case with the ordinary courts.

        The Government further submit that in the case of Zand v.
Austria (Comm.  Rep. 12.10.78, D.R. 15 p. 70), the Commission
considered that even if the wide discretion given to the Minister could
facilitate the intrusion of extraneous considerations, the mere
possibility of that was not sufficient to warrant a finding that the
Austrian Labour Court's independence was generally affected.  It would
have to be shown by reference to particular cases that the practice of
the authorities is as a whole unsatisfactory, or that at least the
establishment of the particular court deciding the case was
influenced by improper motives.  In the Government's submission, no
such evidence of a particular nature has been adduced in the present
application.  Nor has reference been made to particular facts which
would lead to a conclusion that the functioning of the Special
Criminal Court was anything other than satisfactory.

        The Government conclude that the application should be
declared inadmissible as being manifestly ill-founded within the
meaning of the Convention.


        The applicants

        Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention

        The applicants complain that the members of the Special
Criminal Court at the time of their trial were removable at the will of
the Government and that their salaries could be diminished at the will
of the Minister for Finance, contrary to Article 6 para. 1 of the
Convention.

        The applicants indicate that no argument is made that the
members of the Special Criminal Court at the time of their trial were
not appointed or did not hold office otherwise than in accordance with
the domestic law.

        Nor is it alleged that any attempt was made either by the
Government or by the Minister for Finance to interfere with the
judicial independence of the Court in the trial of the applicants
before it.  Consequently, it is submitted that the reliance by the
Government on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case taken by
them does not address their complaint under Article 6 para. 1 of the
Convention, because the guarantees of judicial independence referred to
in that judgment are of no effect if in fact the judges are removable
and were so removed.

        In this connection, the applicants point out that on
4 September 1986, the five members of the Special Criminal Court who
were not then also judges of the ordinary courts, including one of the
members of the Court constituted in their case, were removed from the
Special Criminal Court by the Government.  The solicitors for the
applicants have subsequently requested information from the Ministers
for Justice and Finance as to the reasons for the termination of
these appointments.  By letter of 24 May 1988, the Department of
Justice gave the following reply:

        "The appointments were terminated by decision of the
        Government in accordance with Section 39 of the Offences
        against the State Act, 1939".

        The applicants submit that the refusal by the Government to
advance the reason for the removal of the judges places serious doubt
on the Government's reliance on the above judgment of the Supreme
Court.

THE LAW

        The applicants complain that they were not tried by an
independent court as required by Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the
Convention. They complain, in particular, that the judges of the
Special Criminal Court were not independent since they could be
removed at will by the Government in accordance with Section 39 (2) of
the Offences Against the State Act 1939 and since their salaries could
be reduced by the Minister of Finance under Section 39 (4) of the same
Act.

        The relevant part of Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the
Convention reads as follows:

        "In the determination of his civil rights and
        obligations or of any criminal charge against him,
        everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing
        within a reasonable time by an independent and
        impartial tribunal established by law. ..."

        The Commission's task is to consider the issues raised by the
concrete case before it.  It is not called upon, in the present case,
to examine the general compatibility of those provisions of the
Offences Against the State Act 1939 which establish the Special
Criminal Court with Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention.
Its function is limited to an examination of whether the applicants
were tried by an independent court within the meaning of this
provision (see, in this context, Eur.  Court H.R., Young, James and
Webster judgment of 13 August 1981, Series A no. 44, p. 22, para. 53).

        The Commission has previously found the Special Criminal Court
to be an independent and impartial tribunal although the applicants in
that case did not question the independence of the Court with
reference to the removability of the judges or to their remuneration
and the Commission did not examine these issues (see No. 8299/78, X
and Y v.  Ireland, Dec. 10.10.80, D.R. 22 pp. 551-75).

        In determining whether a court may be considered to be
"independent" both of the executive and of the parties to the case,
regard must be had to the manner of appointment of its members and the
duration of their term of office, to the existence of guarantees
against outside pressures and to whether the body presents an
appearance of independence (see Eur.  Court H.R., Campbell and Fell
judgment of 28 June 1984, Series A no. 80, pp. 39-40, para. 78).

        The applicants do not question, in any respect, the personal
independence of the members of the Special Criminal Court who tried
them.  They limit their complaint to the situation in law that the
members of the Court could be removed at will by the executive and,
therefore, do not enjoy judicial tenure and that their salaries could
be diminished by the executive.

        The Commission observes that members of the Special Criminal
Court are appointed by the Government under Section 39 (2) of 1939
Act.  Since the Court is not a permanent Court it follows that its
members cannot, as such, enjoy the same judicial tenure as judges of
the ordinary courts.

        Both the Commission and Court have stated that, in general,
the irremovability of judges by the executive during their term of
office must be considered as a corollary of their independence and
thus included in the guarantees of Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the
Convention (see e.g.  Campbell and Fell judgment, loc. cit., para. 80,
and Zand v. Austria, Comm.  Report 12.10.78, D.R. 15 p. 82, para. 80).
 However, in assessing this issue regard must be had not only to the
legal provisions concerning the composition of the court but also how
these provisions are interpreted and how they actually operate in
practice. In so doing the Commission must look at the realities of the
situation.

        In this connection the Commission notes the decision of
the Supreme Court in the applicants' case (Eccles & Others v.  Ireland,
The Attorney-General and Others [1986] ILRM 343) where the Court held
that, notwithstanding Section 39 (2) of 1939 Act, any attempted
interference with the judicial independence of the Special Criminal
Court would be prevented and corrected by the courts, such
interference being regarded as an attempt to "frustrate the
constitutional right of persons accused before that Court to a trial
in due course of law".  The Supreme Court added that in this way the
Special Criminal Court derived from the Constitution a guarantee of
independence in the carrying out of its functions.

        Furthermore, the Commission notes that the Special Criminal
Court is subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court
which can review any action taken by the Court alleged to be illegal
or ultra vires (The State (Coveney) v.  Members of the Special Criminal
Court [1982] ILRM 284).

        The Commission also attaches significance to the fact that the
Special Criminal Court was composed of persons with a judicial
background, two of whom were serving members of the judiciary (the
President of the High Court and a Circuit Court judge) and the third a
former President of the District Court.  Moreover, the judgment of the
Court can be appealed to the ordinary courts of appeal in the same way
as appeals from the ordinary criminal courts (Section 44 (1) and (2)
of 1939 Act).  In addition, the Special Criminal Court regulates
its own procedure and generally applies the same rules of evidence as
the ordinary criminal courts (Section 41 of 1979 Act).

        Finally, the Commission finds that there is no evidence of
executive interference with the Court in the performance of its
functions.  Nor is such interference alleged by the applicants either
generally or on the facts of the present case.  It is true that in
September 1986 five members of the Court, one of whom was a judge in
the applicants' case (Mr.  O'Flynn), were replaced by decision of the
Government.  The Commission has no reason to suppose that this
decision was in any respect improper since it would appear from
the Government's submissions that the reason was to ensure that the
Court consisted entirely of judges who were also judges of the
ordinary courts (see above p. 7).  Furthermore Mr.  O'Flynn had reached
an age in excess of normal retiring age.

        The applicants also complain that the remuneration of members
of the Special Criminal Court is entirely at the discretion of the
executive.  However, there is no evidence of any attempt to undermine
the independence of the Court by an abusive exercise of the
power contained in Section 39 (4) of 1939 Act in a manner
calculated to influence the Court in the performance of its
functions.  Moreover, any attempted influence in a particular case, in
this way, would also be restrained by the courts as an
unconstitutional encroachment on judicial independence (Eccles &
Others v.  Ireland, the Attorney-General & Others, loc. cit.).

        Against the above legal and constitutional background, the
Commission concludes that the Special Criminal Court that tried and
convicted the applicants is an "independent" court within the meaning
of Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention.

        It follows that the present application is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.


        For these reasons, the Commission


        DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE



Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission




    (H. C. KRÜGER)                       (C. A. NØRGAARD)