UNREPORTED in Australia – where most of the media have become shut-down pom-pom jigglers – a hearing began today in Ireland’s High Court brought on by journalists Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters who want laws introduced to combat the largely harmless coronavirus ruled unconstitutional. Counsel for the Irish state told the court at a preliminary hearing last week that the government opposes leave being granted for the case to proceed. Patrick McCann SC told Mr Justice Meenan that O’Doherty and Waters’ claims “are not arguable.” If that’s true, Ireland’s most powerful officials are strangely apprehensive. Barrister Francis Kieran for the Dail (lower house), the Seanad (upper house) and the Ceann Comhairle (Dail Speaker) also registered opposition to the matter being heard. The litigants want recently enacted laws to restrict and detain the public quashed. The case has been adjourned this morning, Irish time, while the State prepares a response to their sworn statement. The pair have enthusiastic supporters and viciously spiteful enemies. A large contingent of gardaí are stationed outside the Four Courts complex where the case is proceeding.
Supporters they have but as William O’Sullivan reports from Dublin, most Irishmen see O’Doherty and Waters as “dangerous radicals.” The hatred many in the commentary class especially have towards them is illustrated by well-known cartoonist Niall O’Loughlin’s meme-ified depiction of himself as a garda kicking the two out of Ireland. O’Loughlin’s artist-as-cop also personifies what post-Catholic Ireland has become: a nasty jamboree of adolescent iconoclasm and left-wing thuggery. As her Twitter site demonstrates, however, Gemma O’Doherty isn’t afraid of mocking the country’s shrill Year Zeroists. Her brave endeavour will certainly fail but – as in Irish times of old – maybe this commitment to the preservation of reason will bear fruit.