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94 thoughts on “Dismissed

  1. goldenbrown

    pair of publicity stunterists. their big brains just weren’t big enough on this (or any) occasion.

    are there any fees due for going to the High Court for an unsolicited time-wasting jaunt like this?

  2. TypeONegative

    They got their platform regardless. Having media exposure and a cohort of ignoramuses is like oxygen to them.

  3. Captain Pants

    I think it was great of our Gemma and john, at a moment of crisis like this, to provide an opportunity to unite the Irish people in our visceral hatred and rejection of them.

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Just looked at that. It’s actually bordering on the same tactic that they accuse Gemma O’Doherty / John Waters of i.e. that they are speaking for a particular group of people – the difference though that the people who put the petition up say that they are speaking for everyone, which I doubt.

        1. Cian

          They are saying “We as Irish citizens (AKA ‘the people of Ireland’)” tied to an actual petition. And so far 100,000 people have included themselves in that “we as Irish people”…. which is a lot more than GO’D/JW’s have in their made-up “the people of ireland”.

          1. It's just Dave

            “We AS Irish Citizens” not “We the citizens of Ireland”.
            Two completely different concepts.

        2. The Dude

          Not quite.

          The petition is titled “Gemma O’Doherty and/or John Waters do not speak for us”.

          It specifies “us”. As normal with petitions, it does not claim to speak for everyone.

          As below, the body of text associated with the petition is also quite clear – beginning with “We as Irish Citizens…” , and not “We, all Irish citizens…” .

          That was my understanding anyhow.

          “We as Irish citizens (AKA ‘the people of Ireland’) want the Irish Court services and frontline workers to know that Gemma O’Doherty and/or John Waters do not speak for us.
          We want Irish Court Services to be made aware that in bringing their legal action/case against the Irish Government and in particular rules regarding the ‘lockdown’ regulations during the Covid19 pandemic of 2020 on ‘behalf of the people of Ireland’ or ‘for the people of Ireland’ they are in no way speaking for or on behalf of us as Irish Citizens. We do not authorise Gemma O’Doherty nor John Waters represent us. In the event that they use any of the terms; Irish people, Irish citizens or people of Ireland or anything that encompasses all Irish people at any point in their proceedings we demand that it be made clear that we as individuals are not included in that collective term. We can speak for ourselves. We understand we live in a democracy which includes free speech and citizens can freely bring legal action of their own free will, however we do not agree to be named in any such action brought by either Gemma O’Doherty and/nor John Waters.”

          1. GiggidyGoo

            Putting the word ‘the’ in front of People Of Ireland does put a slightly different slant on it mind you.That’s an all-inclusive statement referring to The people Of Ireland. If they left out ‘the’ it would make more sense.

    1. Cian

      Also “The man who defends himself in court has a fool for a lawyer and a jackass for a client.”

  4. Catherine Vaughan

    Now can you stop giving these days fools, and all the other conspiracy theorists oxygen.

  5. Brother Barnabas

    wasnt John Waters supposedly on the brink of death? I regularly see him these days, strutting around looking pleased with himself

  6. The Dude

    Water shame.

    At least it frees up John to leave Ireland as per his declared intention in 2017, in the event of the 8th amendment being repealed – which of course has since happened.

    Dotty O’Doherty is something else.

    Interesting that both of these former journalists campaign for freedom of speech – yet each has separately initiated various libel proceedings.

    Whatever potential merit there may have been in a case questioning the emergency laws, credibility was lost by repeated scenes of obnoxious behaviour and illegal gatherings where no masks were apparent.

    It must be explained by the Gardaí why they dispersed the protesting Debenams employees who were socially distancing and wearing masks – yet allowed repeated scenes of crowds associated with this case.

    1. The Dude

      Interesting to see over on TheJournal, that despite the case having been decided, ‘comments are closed for legal reasons’.

      Notably this was also supposedly a public interest matter rather than a criminal case – and hence would not normally be understood to the possibility of prejudice by public comment.

      It really is daft that defamation laws in Ireland are now so onerous as to deny the public right to comment on a spent case that was associated with blatantly illegal gatherings

      1. fluffybiscuits

        The comments were closed as the commentators were probably standing outside the courts

        The commentators not in the courts are probably trying to figure out how to play with Lego in lock down and discovering the joys of C Beebies

        1. SOQ

          It is standard practice for the Journal to close comments on ongoing legal cases- if memory serves me, they got burnt a few times. I think that is the reason the Indo removed its comment section altogether too.

          And sure- isn’t great craic to see Bodger sweating bullets here too eh?

      2. Ringsend Incinerator

        Closed probably because the servers couldn’t handle the volume from their supporters. The Journal comments section isn’t a hotbed of rational or reasonable contributions even at the best of times.

  7. Skeptik

    How many extra cases of Covid19 are these pair responsible for with their tightly-knit entourage?

  8. Junkface

    Funny stuff! Its good to see they can humour the mentally challenged and make them feel included. Now they can get back to digging that big hole in the garden.

  9. class wario

    Sure look, this will just be more material for their “everybody is out to get us!” shtick. The courts are in on it too!

    I am more and more convinced they took this case purely for the publicity they’d get. I actually think outside of the internet most people haven’t a fuppin notion who G*mma is and this will probably have increased her visibility a lot even if most think she’s a gowl.

  10. GiggidyGoo

    During the hearing of their case, Mr Waters and Ms O’Doherty, who represented themselves, indicated they would appeal if they were not granted permission for the challenge.
    So I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes on and on, particularly as Mr Justice Meenan said that legislation enacted to address the issues arising from the pandemic undoubtedly restricted people’s constitutional rights.

    1. class wario

      you’ve cut off a fairly vital bit of his point there that such rights are not and have never been absolute. but yes it will undoubtedly go on and on

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Of course it’ll go on and on. If the Justice is saying that restricting people’s rights isn’t a problem and not absolute, (as his judgement will be quoted in future non- GOD/JW cases) I think there’s a bigger issue now.

          1. GiggidyGoo

            I’ll take your word for it Class Wario. I don’t know. But what you’re really saying (not you personally) is that people’s rights don’t really exist then in the constitution – as interpreted at the moment anyway.

          2. GiggidyGoo

            A tweet by GOD.

            “As anticipated, Charles Flanagan appointee Judge Meenan has rejected our leave application for a JR to #EndLockdownIreland. We will lodge our appeal shortly. Full analysis from 8pm. Thank you for all of your brilliant support. Our fight for justice continues stronger than ever “

        1. Cian

          “‘[if] the Justice is saying that restricting people’s rights isn’t a problem and not absolute.”

          I’m not sure if that is what he said at all
          None of our constitutional rights are absolute. All of them can be (and are) restricted in some way or another.
          I don’t think he said that restricting out rights “isn’t a problem”.

          1. Steph Pinker

            GG, Cian: you’re both right; fundamental rights are not absolute, whereas inalienable rights are above all laws – whatever about a lack of legal representation, I’m surprised they pursued it without any legal advice tbh.

  11. V'ness

    This is exactly what they wanted
    All the hype and chatter without ever having to argue their case
    Or put their case out into the public domain

    They live on these awkward unfashionable outskirts and fringes
    They thrive there

    And this applies to both of the Plaintiffs
    Their most lucrative day’s work
    Was down in the Courts
    Not as working journalists in a Newspaper

    But as Litigants

    So lay’ve them at it
    Them and their kooky friends and supporters

    1. guns and drums and drums and guns harooo

      Ah now come on that’s just complete and utter tosh

      Waters did some great work as a journalist and also wrote a fine book, whether you like it or not, it was a best seller

      similarly with the quare wan. She did a lot of great journalistic work too. Real investigative stuff.

      1. V'ness

        That’s not what I said
        I didn’t mention any of their own professional outputs as Journalists or Writers

        I entered the notion that their most lucrative paydays, lately anyway, were possibly via excursions to the Courts as plaintiffs

  12. Gay Fawkes

    On her Twitter profile, Gemma O’Doherty describes herself as a patriot. Bizarrely though, she has affixed behind her main profile pic an image of sheep wearing PPE masks. So really she should have told the judge she was representing the sheep of Ireland, not the people, the vast majority of whom have taken precautions against a REAL threat to protect each other. And perhaps she should change ‘patriot’ to ‘shepherdess’. The judge today used the word ‘offensive’ to describe one of their barmy arguments. The End.

    1. SOQ

      There is growing public resentment to this lock down given the inconsistency with things like non screening at airports and foreign workers being able to travel at will.

      So it doesn’t really matter if they win the plenary as long as the MSM are forced to give them exposure.

      1. ReproBertie

        “There is growing public resentment to this lock down”

        Can you back that up?

        1. ReproBertie

          Actually that’s a stupid question. 3 people yesterday and 4 people today means public resentment is growing. The issue is whether we’re still talking fringes or if the number resenting it are hitting 30-40% which could result in significant breaches of the lockdown.

  13. James M.Chimney

    What’s the story with legal fees here? Who’s paying for the courts time etc? Is it the taxpayer, do these two have a big war chest? Please forgive my ignorance but I’m genuinely interested.

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      The “court’s time” (i.e. the cost of the courts service, the Judge’s salary, etc) is always paid for by the state in any matter. That’s part and parcel of living in a democracy.

      As for who will pay the costs of the parties (i.e. O’Doherty, Waters, the Minister for Health, the AG, the Dail and Seanad), that will be determined by the Judge at a later date. He hasn’t made any order for costs yet and has asked for the parties to make submissions in relation to that. The general rule of thumb is that costs follow the event – if you lose your case you have to pay your own costs and the costs of the other side. But that’s not always appropriate for a variety of reasons. In a case Iike this, the court may decide that each party should bear their own costs.

      No idea who’s funding Waters and O’Doherty. I’d say their legal team are doing it pro bono.

      1. Porter

        They had no legal team which might explain why they repeatedly refused to offer legal arguments and used the incorrect procedure.

  14. fluffybiscuits

    Im a layman when it comes to the law but maybe someone can correct me. The constitution has a hierarchy of rights ? The common good trumps most?

    1. SOQ

      They are challenging what has been accepted as ‘the common good’ surely?

      That the subsequent non CoVid-19 related health issues and the economic impact is doing more harm than the lock down itself.

      1. class wario

        yeah and they did a terrible job and presented zero evidence because it was about self promotion rather than any altruism

  15. Daisy Chainsaw

    They can have their moment now, but we all know that it’s just a time passer until Liveline comes on in 30 mins!

    1. GiggidyGoo

      Live line will be taken up with the durty filums on TV I’d think. Or with an appeal for funds for Joe himself, after his revelations last weekend.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        Oh yeah, it’ll be all about Connell’s willy. Expect lots of comments like “Shocked. Shocked I was Joe. The bishop said he’d be getting his lad out & he did, but I was still shocked. That’s not whay I pay my licence fee for. You wouldn’t see it on Nationwide”

          1. GiggidyGoo

            Think they were referring to a movie – the crying game?
            “Yes, he got his lad out. Only, you only see it for a second but you get the message.”
            “I didn’t know what it was at first, it’s so long since I’ve seen one.”
            “I thought it looked rather like your Billy’s.”
            “Not at all, Billy’s is rounder at the top.”

            Then again, The video of the Bishop’s holiday might suggest it too.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          Good job I don’t pay my licence cos Joe was boring rubbish today, deliberately not talking about Normal People until the end.

  16. Kateat

    I thought that they could possibly get a judicial review, – on caretaker government 3rd in polls bringing in laws and with only 20 out of 166 TD’s voting on it? Dr Jack Lambert, an expert in infectious diseases was too protesting at what was happening in nursing homes calling it ” as absolutely terrifying.”.Who holds power to account?

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      The government is the government until the next government is formed and they are constitutionally permitted to pass laws.

      5Gem and Waawaa didn’t have a clue what they were doing and were undone by their own hubris. As for holding “power to account”, if it’s such a concern to you, consult a solicitor and take a case.

      1. Cian

        And the Courts can’t interfere with the running of the Oireachtas – separation of powers.

        1. class wario

          in fairness, i think most use stuff like that or #notmypresident in the US as a way to show they do not support the leader of the country or their views. obviously there’s a subset that literally think they’re not ‘validly’ in charge but other than those lads i dont really have an issue with the sentiment.

          but like, in this instance, judicial review is a very specific thing with very specific qualifiers. i feel like people like the OP here read judicial review as one of 100 interchangeable buzzwords as a means to fix something they think is bad and mistakenly believe is actively illegal

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            Everyone gets to vote for the US president, hence that hashtag from people who wouldn’t vote for Trump. #NotmyTaoiseach is pure stupid because Ireland never votes for the Taoiseach. Ireland elects TDs and the leader of the biggest party is installed as Taoiseach. I didn’t like Charlie, Biffo, Bertie, Albert, Bruton or Enda, but they were all my taoiseach too.

  17. ReproBertie

    “Unfortunately, in making their case for leave, the applicants, who have no medical or scientific qualifications or expertise, relied upon their own unsubstantiated views, gave speeches, engaged in empty rhetoric and sought to draw an historic parallel with Nazi German – a parallel which is both absurd and offensive. Unsubstantiated opinions, speeches, empty rhetoric and a bogus historical parallel are not a substitute for facts.”

    1. Kate

      That’s a speech about 2 individuals. I didn’t disagree with lockdown but planes landing, ferry arrivals , Northern Ireland day trippers,
      lack of testing could make it all in vain. We have about the same amount of positive cases as Sweden , over twice our population and no lock down.

      1. ReproBertie

        That’s an excerpt from the judgement.

        We have tested 258,808 people identifying 23,242 positive tests with 1,488 deaths.

        Sweden have tested 177,500 people identifying 27,909 positive tests with 3,460 deaths. Sweden is 5th in the world in per-capita deaths.

        Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist who devised their policy, said it will take one or two years to know whose strategy has worked best.

  18. f_lawless

    After reading over the judicial review, I do get the impression it was a bit arrogant/naive of Waters & O’Doherty that they attempted make a case against the proportionality of the lockdown measures without directly referencing expert scientific opinion.

    Just a layman here of course, but there was a couple of points that left me scratching my head:

    paragragh 4 (pg 2.)
    “It was only a matter of time before Covid 19 spread to Ireland. This happened on 29 Feb 2020.”
    Why is Justice Meehan stating this as a matter of fact, I wonder? Even Varadkar has conceded that it may have been here much earlier which would cast new doubt on what effect the lockdown measures actually had/are having. We now know that confirmed cases were in France in December and Novemeber – possibly even October.

    paragraph 54 (pg.22)
    In dismissing the alleged disproportionality of the measures, Meehan says that the narrative laid out in O’Doherty/Waters’ original affidavit “ended on March 16 when some 268 cases and deaths of 2 persons were reported”. A “grounding affidavit” was then sworn in on 5 May with no update to their narrative. Meehan then says: “It’s worth noting that on 5/6 May there were 22,248 cases and 1,375 deaths. The applicants made no reference of this”.

    If we discount the 60% of deaths which are known to have occured in nursing homes. 60% of 1,375 = 825. Then 1,375 – 825 = 550. All deaths are a tragedy of course, but I’m not sure what case the judge is making here when a number of 550 is in the realms of average flu deaths every winter in Ireland. Anyone?

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      Why would you discount nursing home deaths? Are they not included in the average annual flu death numbers?

      1. f_lawless

        The shutdown measures (ie. the closure of many businesses and the restriction of movement for the general population) aren’t directly applicable to those resident in nursing homes. In that context, I was discounting covid nursing home deaths. These are the people that should have been better protected regardless of whether there was a shutdown or not.

        I wasn’t trying to imply that nursing home deaths aren’t included in average annual flu death numbers. I was just using that figure as a comparative reference point to question whether the 550 toll justifies the devastating secondary impacts of the shutdown as Justice Meehan seems to imply.

        1. Barry the Hatchet

          Judge Meehan was implying nothing of the kind. He was pointing out that it is disingenuous and misleading to swear a statement of background facts in May, which only details the facts up to mid-March and therefore very dramatically understates the death toll. The Judge didn’t even need to get into the issue of whether the measures are disproportionate because Waters and O’Doherty didn’t advance any actual evidence to support their case.

          1. f_lawless

            I guess you’re right, if as the judge says, their narrative ended at a time when the death toll was at just 2, then any future figure is going to be “very dramatically” higher than that in comparison. But it doesn’t make things any clearer as to whether the lockdown measures were proportional or not.

            Speaking of misleading narratives, what’s your take on the judge’s statement “It was only a matter of time before Covid 19 spread to Ireland. This happened on 29 Feb 2020.” as a matter of fact, when even our own taoseach is on record in the Dail as saying it’s “very possible” that the virus was here as far back as December?

          2. V'ness

            I don’t think that was their case tho’ F’law
            – what Leo thinks
            I mean

            It all sits on what J Meehan said it was lacking;
            And they should heed the Court’s additional commentry
            Speeches weren’t enough for the High Court
            So most definitely not persuasive in an Appeal

            In fairness, the moment fake science was uttered by the Plaintiffs
            It was impossible for the Judge – no matter who appointed them or even the jurisdiction or the matter before them
            The case was a gonner

            Which is a shame

            There are activities by this Acting Government and its suite of Ministers that are definitely worth testing

            Ah shur’
            Was it ever really about that

    2. Donnchadh

      f_lawless, I think it’s important to view numbers like that in context – it’s only then that we can even ask whether they are significant.

      In the case of the death toll you mention, there are two important contexts. The first is the length of time taken for that number to accumulate – a lot shorter than a winter’s flu season. The second is that this number is the figure of deaths even given widespread social distancing, massive mobilisation of the health service, and a nationwide lockdown. When the figure is put in that context, it looks rather different, and suggests (without fully capturing) the scale of the threat.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that the lockdown was justified – there’s room for debate on that topic. And it certainly doesn’t mean the lockdown should be kept in place. But without that context the figures you mention don’t tell us much either way.

      1. SOQ

        What is surely certain is that private nursing homes- meaning for profit- would be more likely to interpret any lock down as to be more malleable than public?

        Is it not therefore not reasonable to assume that more old people died because their children threw into private nursing homes then demanded access against public Health advice?

        All reared in creches I expect.

      2. f_lawless

        @Donnchadh I appreciate the response –

        I think the crux of the matter is being able to estimate what effect the shutdown measures (ie shutting down many businesses and restricting movement to 2-5km) have had relative to the other measures -which would have been put in place anyway regardless of the shutdown measures. Difficult to do with everything being put in place at much the same time.

        However, I know there’s been a couple of scientific studies (not yet peer-reviewed of course) to date on the effectiveness of the different measures implemented in Europe. For example, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (in collaboration with researchers at the University of Newcastle, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa.): “widespread closure of all non-essential businesses and stay-at-home policies do not appear to have had a significant effect on the number of Covid-19 cases across Europe.”

        Regarding the time period, can we say with confidence that the covid death toll accumulated in a much shorter time than a typical winter flu season? Isn’t winter season – December, January, Feb? The first recorded death from covid was in early March – although the virus may have even been here months before that.

        Anyway I think while it may be true that GO’D & Waters failed to present in court a factual case against the proportionality of the measures, I don’t think that Meehan adds any clarity by saying that “It’s worth noting that on 5/6 May there were 22,248 cases and 1,375 deaths.” – what are we meant to glean from that? Something along the lines of “ok the figures he quotes aren’t that high, not nearly as high as originally projected, but it’s to be assumed that’s because of the lockdown measures(??)”?

        1. Donnchadh

          Thanks for the reply, f_lawless. Studies like the one you mention are crucial in addressing the issue of which measures are most proportionate in responding to the virus. What that study suggests, at least based on the press release, is that it is doubtful that the kind of very extensive lockdown we have seen across Europe made much difference to the spread of the virus, but that some lockdown measures, including shutting many non-essential businesses and closing schools and creches, do seem to have been effective. That suggests that a more limited lockdown would have been the most effective response (plus a better response around nursing homes – and it is striking that so many countries, regardless of their general strategies, have been unable to effectively control the virus there).

          The first recorded death in Ireland was on March 11th, so the time period the judge was referring to is significantly shorter than three months.

        2. Donnchadh

          On Judge Meenan citing the death figures, I can’t say why he did so, but I think they certainly can help to bring clarity – it depends what we want to clarify. If one appeals to them to justify the lockdown as proportionate, then I agree that they won’t help very much, certainly not on their own. But it was quite common a couple of months or so ago to read opponents of the lockdown minimising the severity of the virus by pointing out that very few people had died of it. In that context, citing the numbers who have actually died (in a short period, despite extensive countermeasures) does bring clarity, by indicating the severity of the threat.

  19. Porter

    For the avoidance of doubt, judicial review is a procedure we inherited from the common law system (the English courts really). It is primarily to review bodies like local authorities, government ministers, government agencies in how they made decisions, usually to a specific case. This comes under the banner of administrative law and is influenced mostly by common law principles of fairness, bias and whether an officer holder exceeded a power they hold.

    Our system of review of the validity of legislation under the Constitution is different. An individual cannot “take” a “constitutional case” in England for example, except in very rare circumstances (such as the two cases taken by Gina Miller). This is an additional check on parliament and the government introduced incrementally under the 1922 constitution and properly in our current 1937 constitution.

    Confusingly, as is the way with law, constitutional law and administrative law overlap frequently. The idea of “judicial review” has a different meaning in other countries such as the US where it encompases review of the validty of legislation.

  20. Truth in the News

    Did the restrictions save any lives in the sector that has the highest casualty rate
    private nursing homes, did it reduce the level of infection in the health care sector
    which amounts to a third of infections, the mute point would there have been
    anywhere the level in the latter if there were effective personal protection.

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