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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 […]


Smoke and Mirrors

The Minister for Health is planning to restrict the advertising of cigarettes. There are good reasons to think he is not moving fast enough. Read this letter of September last from the Association of Attorney Generals (of the USA) asking the Food and Drug Administration to control the promotion of e-cigarettes. This is reminiscent of the great tobacco litigation of the USA beautifully represented by the Statement of Claim of the Minnesota Attorney General. See the documents in that case […]


Irish Water; tears ahead?

I think “public procurement” is the ruling idea currently in the Irish Water revelations. The company is changing the description of the subject of the contracts which it first said were “consultancy” contracts. Now, it says they are “provision of services” contracts. In either event, those contracts are, clearly, of great value and easily qualify for mandatory use of public procurement procedures. It is illegal to award contracts without using the proper and appropriate public procurement procedures. The Department of […]



The title means “Health Service Executive Clinical Trial Indemnity Form”. In Ireland a clinical trial (which covers the testing of proposed pharmaceutical products) must be approved by an Ethics committee (of a hospital, say) and the Irish Medicines Board. Because of the legal complications of supplying products on which, effectively, no assurances of safety can (or will) be given, it is standard practice for “the Hospital”, “the Authority”, “the Investigator” and “the Sponsor” to sign a Health Service Executive Clinical […]



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 […]


The National Archives and The Department of Justice’s living history

by William Murphy

The National Archives are governed by legislation. S8 of the primary National Archives Act 1986 sets out the requirement on Government departments to hand over files after 30 years. Geraldine Kennedy in The Irish Times has reported on the surprising lack of new information in the files to be released this year on the GUBU phone tapping scandal of 1983; “There are six phone-tapping files in all: four from the Department of the Taoiseach and two from the attorney general’s […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]