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Author Archives: Edward McGarr

In Praise of

cc Opensourceway

Had we but world enough and time… To peer-review our works and rhyme ‘Twould serve us well in private state But publick matters are not so fine To let us leave the readers wait Who pay us time for their estate And not the purchase of our pine – With apologies to Andrew Marvell The news that the blog, written and maintained by Dr. Eoin O’Dell of Trinity College Dublin has gone offline was received in this office with […]


The Freedom of Information Bill 2013, legally speaking

secret stamp by RestrictedData on Flickr

The Government’s Bill to amend the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 to 2003 is, arguably, illegal. The modern understanding of the right to Freedom of Expression embraces also the right to receive information. Restrictions on the right to free speech and/or the right to receive information are, in principle, breaches of legal provisions safeguarding that right, including the Irish Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights […]


Modernising Irish Copyright

Experts come in all shapes and sizes. Some deliver the equivalent of “flat-pack” reports; you have to assemble the useful product yourself. That has not happened with the excellent Report of the Copyright Review Committee chaired by the tireless Eoin O’Dell Its report is fully and instantly usable, subject to going through Dáil Éireann. What’s not to like, when the Committee drafts your legislation and then goes on to draft suggested amendments to the District Court rules? At McGarr Solicitors, […]


Injury claims are a political issue

This website is about the law. That’s why it is also about politics. They go together. The Irish political class has wrecked Ireland economically, but its faults do not finish there. Political careers need money and other supports. A politician can trade public policy for that money and/or support. In other words, a policy can be promoted by people in circumstances where they appear to be independent; they do not appear to have any personal interest in the outcome, but […]


Pyrite: Liability, compensation and time limits for claims

The cost of remediation of buildings damaged by the incorporation of pyrites into them is considerable. This is unavoidable where the construction works have been completed and, typically, the pyrites are in the sub-base of the construction. The pyrites expand in certain circumstances, deforming the floor and walls and other structural elements of the building. The current estimate is for 1,100 private dwellings affected. It has been estimated that each will cost €50,000 to repair. That’s a total of €50 million. […]


Bad Pills

Many medicines are poisons. According to Paracelsus, everything is poisonous in some degree. This fact presents a legal problem, depending on how it is looked at; if a medicine damages the patient, how can the doctor or the manufacturer be held liable? It was generally known that the medicine was harmful, was it not? The doctor’s case is more straightforward. If the doctor follows general practice and the manufacturer’s instructions, in the prescribing and administering of the medicine she will not […]


Your Cheating Heart

Incurring debts, and attempting to recover them, has been a source of tension in civilisations going back to Sumeria.


Truths, damned truths and statistics

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” One of the functions of a solicitor is to make the significant visible. On occasions this is easy; on others it is hard. It is easier if there is universal, or near-universal, acceptance of some aspect of reality. Much of reality is banal and the banal lacks significance, although it is true. “Truth”, therefore must be selected […]


Litigation Costs

The Irish system underpinning the recovery of costs in Irish litigation is derived from British practice and systems but lags behind developments there. The basic principle is that the client is responsible for paying his or her costs and may only recover those costs in the event of winning. The corollary of the second leg of the prior sentence is that the client is responsible for ALL costs in the event of losing. That means that the client is liable […]


Beaumont Hospital and infections

Unwashed hands under UV light

HIQA has reported on the wholesale failure of staff in Beaumont hospital to wash their hands. (A pdf of their report is available here) The staff knows, in theory, about the germ theory of disease but like everybody else they experience its apparent refutation. We are surrounded by bacteria, we live in a sea of bacteria and few of us are seriously damaged by them. Why, then, is it unacceptable to fail to wash your hands? The answer lies in […]