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Author Archives: Edward McGarr


This office will be attending the BT Young Scientist of the Year exhibition in the RDS. I can remember seeing the work of one of the early winners; he had constructed a (working) model of the human digestive system, in glass and chemicals. I was incompetent to judge the work because there was in those days a bias against biology. Biology was not real science. Consequently, I cannot say if the model had a colon or not. I believe it did […]



Who remembers the three Rs? They are (or were) a political idea, or phrase. So, you went to school and, at a minimum, school would teach you “Reading, Riting and Rithmetic”. (School often fails at this), It did not fail this writer. So, here is some of my arithmetic; Irish Water paid €50,000,000 to consultants for, “reports” (I think), in one year. Days in one year = 365. Hours in one day = 24. Total hours in one year, 365 […]



What does it mean to make a mistake? To make a mistake is to be wrong. Luckily, there’s a book on that. I recommend that book; in fact it’s some time since I read it and it’s time to read it again. However, being wrong is not the subject of this post. There is a sub-set of being wrong; it is to be ignorant. So, the re-formulated question is; what does it mean to be ignorant? It means you are […]


The Depuy hip recall US MDL settlement – FAQs

What is the issue? In August 2010, Depuy, a US conglomerate, owned by Johnson & Johnson “recalled” some of its medical products. The recall included the Depuy ASR XL Acetabular System, a type of artificial human hip. These hips are fitted to consumers in the course of major surgery in hospitals. The recall was of the unused products; the used products were in patients. In fact, many of the hips were failing early and the patients were undergoing early, avoidable, […]


Feeling Lousy

No, this post is not about hangovers. It’s about evidence. Ideas as to what is evidence have varied, somewhat, over time. (SPOILER ALERT) For instance, “Murder comes to Pemberley” by P. D. James,  features a trial scene. Mr. Wickham, a character from Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice” is on trial for murder. The implied date of the trial is approximately 1804. The UK lacked a police force at that time. The local magistrate has performed the police function and he […]


Two Dublin Cinemas that show the connection between show business and academia

Show business is very old. Arguably, the first philosophers were in that business. If what you say is important, you need to ensure that as many people hear it as is possible. Socrates, for instance, worked in the Athenian Agora. He had at least one location there where he conducted his dialogues; it was in the metal-working stall of a friend. This was a modest affair in comparison to the then current big entertainments, sport and the theatre, but the […]


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 […]


Class Actions

cc Unarmed Civilian

Britain and Ireland share many things, not least the weather. We share an approach to legal proceedings so, possibly, Ireland will follow the UK into a new form of legal proceedings, known as “collective action mechanisms”, “representative court actions“ or “class actions”. The UK experimented with consumer “opt-in” representative court action. That failed; it was used once. Now, the UK is proposing to introduce “opt-out” representative court actions for consumers. If it works for consumers its attractions may spread it […]


Looking East

Trenitalia is Italy’s national train system. Being national, it is open to political interference in the form of over-manning. Other things being equal, this is good for passengers and employees. Ireland can have nothing to say about this situation. Irish citizens, likewise, must confine their reflections on Italian train travel to their memoirs. The USA also has a bloated and inflated industry; its prison system. There are 758 prisoners per 100,000 of population there. This is not the stuff for […]


The Actio Popularis, Aarhus Convention and class actions in Ireland

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 […]