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Human Rights

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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]



What is the economic cost of a proper defence? Inevitably, it will vary from case to case, but Clive Stafford Smith estimates that 1,000 hours will be needed for the task. That’s 83 days. Now assume an hourly rate for the lawyer at €300 (because that is less than the rate allowed by the Irish High Court for some company liquidators) and we can work out the cost of the defence, – €300,000.


Making the SOPA Sausages

Bismark reputedly said that nobody should get too close to the making of laws or sausages. On Thursday, on behalf of the campaign, I took a trip to Leinster House, to catch a glimpse of the sausage machine at work. Together with Ian Bergin, who runs the Facebook campaign, and TJ McIntyre of DRI, I met with Catherine Murphy TD to discuss her scheduled exchange of questions with Minister Sherlock. We experienced the minute-by-minute changes of timetables and proposals […]


Stop SOPA Ireland: We must have Openness, not murky backroom deals

You will have noticed the black banner across the top of our site this week. You may also have noticed the sudden flurry of media appearances and debates on radio around the issue of Minister of State Sean Sherlock’s plan to introduce a law to allow the music labels (and other copyright holders) to seek injunctions forcing Irish ISPs to block access to sites they don’t like. “I will introduce this imminently, by the end of January.”– Minister Sherlock, Sunday […]


The other Blairs

Like many lawyers, Mr. Blair’s representation of his client, Dred Scott, was not for money but from conviction.


Flying a Balloon?

The Gardaí have had a history of their own difficulties with search warrants and the like.


All Together Now…!

Will Ireland suffer the humiliation of Irish citizens bringing a class action in London for events which happened in Ireland?