Barrington, Thomas (1881–1930), civil servant, was born 17 December 1881 at Carhuclough, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, eldest of ten children of Peter Barrington and Ann Barrington (née Barry), small farmers. Five of the children emigrated; seven never married. A bright student, he joined the civil service (1901), having being tutored for the second-division examination by his teacher Patrick Lenihan, grandfather of Brian Lenihan (qv), TD. In 1903 he was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, where he was stimulated to pursue his studies in economics, making him an acknowledged expert on Irish agriculture. The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland published two of his articles, A review of Irish agricultural prices (1926) and The clash between the individualistic and social concept of value (1927). The former, in which he showed the inevitability of the changes in Irish agriculture since 1900, was highly influential and achieved wide circulation. His brother Peter's membership of the Irish Volunteers – recruited by Ernest Blythe (qv) – perhaps hindered his early advancement: he reached the grade of higher executive officer only in 1920. Advancing rapidly after 1922, he was appointed a superintending officer in the Department of Industry and Commerce in 1923. In the same year he was secretary of the fiscal inquiry committee established to examine the government's industrial policy. Barrington, who was opposed to free trade, was so outraged by what he saw as the sterile economic conservatism and the patronising tenor of the inquiry, dominated by C. F. Bastable (qv), that before the committee had reported, he had come to sit in a separate room to the rest of the committee. Despite this setback Barrington undoubtedly influenced a proactive policy at the Department of Industry and Commerce, in opposition to the ethos of the dominant Department of Finance. He advocated trade protectionism, so that industrial development could be fostered within the country, and criticised the government's financial policy which placed considerable custodial powers in the hands of the Bank of Ireland, while also being highly critical of the selfsame institution at the banking commission (1927). In 1927 he was made principal officer and in subsequent years represented the Irish Free State at several important international conferences at Paris and Geneva. A member of Howth golf club and the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland from 1924, he was elected a member of its council in October 1925. He died 8 March 1930 (of rheumatic fever and double pneumonia brought on by overwork) in Geneva, where he was representing Ireland at the tariff truce conference. He left estate valued at £1,200.
He married (31 March 1913) Eileen, daughter of Joseph Bracken (qv), builder, and a half-sister of Brendan Bracken (qv). After Thomas's death she worked as a Dublin Corporation health inspector. They had five children (including Mr Justice Donal Barrington and T. J. Barrington (qv), a director of the IPA) and lived at 26 Iona Crescent, Glasnevin.