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Human Rights

Is it yourself, then?

Memories word and camera

It is high time to re-evaluate people. Take the Garda whistleblowers, former Garda Wilson and Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Few commentators have remarked upon an obvious fact; they have been subjected to extreme stress. People like that are entitled to our understanding of their difficulties. To claim there are only two of them, as then Garda Commissioner Callinan did, is laughable; it is astonishing that there are so many of them. Human beings are fragile, but there is a mistaken idea […]

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Medical Negligence and “Doctor X”

In January 2008 we reported the publication of a book by an anonymous Irish doctor, detailing the failings of the Irish hospital system. See a report HERE. The doctor was running a website and was featured speaking on national radio. The website is now not to be found and the book is not readily available. Medical errors happen everywhere; they are not unique to Ireland. In the USA and the UK, the responsible authorities collect statistics to find out why […]

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Judging judges

There are two big ideas current in modern law. One is expressed in the law of the EU; it is the freedom to do business. The other is the law generated in response to the Second World War; it is the law of human rights. There has been an effort to bring them together (and an effort to keep them apart). The effort to bring them together is in the Treaty of European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights […]

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The Actio Popularis, Aarhus Convention and class actions in Ireland

811203MaccariCicero

Ireland currently has a limited form of class action. It is the “actio popularis”. It is not like the US form of class action; it is not of direct benefit to individual members of the public. They get the benefit when they are in the class that benefits from the judgment. They do not simply lodge their claim for compensation, say. The Irish courts have accepted “actio popularis” claims in only one such proceedings; Digital Rights Ireland Ltd. v The […]

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The Law of Perfidy

Nuremberg accused

Lawyers know that it is improper to use any means to win in the struggle that is litigation. Lay people may also understand that, at least intuitively. Given that even war is to be conducted within limits we should be glad that this is so. The laws of war are being continuously developed through treaties and, hopefully, through development of the customary laws of war. Customary laws are binding on all nations and states, regardless of express agreement by treaty, […]

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Mad, bad and dangerous to know

Klaus Barbie

On 21st June 1943, the Gestapo raided the house of Dr. Frédéric Dugoujon in Lyon. There they found nine leaders of the French Resistance, including Dr. Dugoujon, Jean Moulin, Raymond Aubrac and René Hardy. Only René Hardy escaped, there and then. Jean Moulin, returned from Britain, had been charged by General De Gaulle with uniting the various factions within the Resistance. He was tortured extensively by Klaus Barbie in Lyon and died in a railway station in Metz on his way to Germany. […]

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My favourite case

US Supreme Court Justice Taney

Recently, the Irish Times featured an opportunity for some lawyers to name their “favourite case”. Some choices were reasonable, some were laughable. A major problem in making a decision like this is the fact that court decisions seldom give the lead to society. The lead is established long before the issue reaches the courts. This means that any particular judgment is going to reflect what has already been decided elsewhere and previously. This is not to say that court decisions […]

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Digital Rights Ireland: Oral Submission to the European Court of Justice on the Data Retention Directive

McGarr Solicitors act for Digital Rights Ireland. The case of Digital Rights Ireland Limited, seeking to challenge Data Retention, reached a significant milestone on the 9th July 2013, when the case was heard before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The ECJ had received a referral from the Irish High Court, asking it to rule on the question of whether the Data Retention Directive (Directive 2006/24, to its friends) was compatible with basic EU laws. You can read the […]

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The Quirke Report: A critical analysis

When the Government announced that they were accepting and implementing the Quirke Report on a Payment scheme for women detained in Magdalen laundries, it was presented as the end of the matter. Minister Shatter said “It also marks the culmination of a process I initiated together with Minister of State Kathleen Lynch… It reflects my promise to the women who resided and worked in the Laundries to see justice done.” In reality, the first, and potentially most significant, matter to […]

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UN Commission on Human Rights Letter to Ireland questions the State’s response to the Magdalen Laundries scandal

Below is an extract from a letter from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Irish government addressing the government’s responses to the Magdalen Laundries scandal. The letter is dated 22nd May 2013 and can be read in its entirety on the UN’s website at this link. Emphasis added. *** The Committee is pleased that the Government of Ireland commissioned a committee chaired by Senator McAleese to establish the facts of State involvement concerning […]

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