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Court reserves judgment on challenge against Covid-19 lockdown laws

Mr Justice Charles Meenan said he would deliver the judgment to the parties by email.

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John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty are seeking to have pieces of recently enacted legislation, introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, quashed by a judge (Julien Behal/PA)

John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty are seeking to have pieces of recently enacted legislation, introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, quashed by a judge (Julien Behal/PA)

John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty are seeking to have pieces of recently enacted legislation, introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, quashed by a judge (Julien Behal/PA)

The High Court has reserved judgment on a challenge brought against laws introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

An application by John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty to seek permission to challenge the laws was brought before Mr Justice Charles Meenan.

Justice Meenan said he would deliver the judgment by email to the parties.

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Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters arrive at the High Court in Dublin (Julien Behal/PA)

Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters arrive at the High Court in Dublin (Julien Behal/PA)

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Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters arrive at the High Court in Dublin (Julien Behal/PA)

In judicial review proceedings against the State and Health Minister Simon Harris, Mr Waters and Ms O’Doherty are seeking to have various pieces of recently enacted legislation quashed by a judge of the High Court.

The legislation they are challenging includes the 2020 Health Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, the 2020 Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act Covid-19 Act and the 1947 Health Act (Affected Areas) Order.

There has been significant garda presence around the Four Courts throughout proceedings as supporters of the pair gather outside the High Court.

This is a full-frontal attack on our most basic, most fundamental freedoms ...Gemma O'Doherty

A number held placards and the tricolour, while many called for the end to the lockdown laws.

Road barriers were erected around the area to prevent supporters from accessing the court following fears over social distancing.

Following the judge’s decision, Ms O’Doherty told the small crowd that the laws were “an enslavement of the Irish people”.

She added: “This is a full-frontal attack on our most basic, most fundamental freedoms and there’s been a lot of game playing and a lot of making an issue of the fact that we are not lawyers and we do not speak in case law.

“We want to make it clear to the judge that we really believe that the people of Ireland are under house arrest, the children of Ireland cannot go to school, that the elderly cannot get the healthcare they need or see their families.

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Gemma O’Doherty told supporters the laws were ‘an enslavement of the Irish people’ (Julien Behal/PA)

Gemma O’Doherty told supporters the laws were ‘an enslavement of the Irish people’ (Julien Behal/PA)

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Gemma O’Doherty told supporters the laws were ‘an enslavement of the Irish people’ (Julien Behal/PA)

“Many are dying alone, so many citizens who pay taxes and people are stopped from earning their livelihoods.

“They are broken and while all of this is happening the amount of debt this country is getting into is unspeakable.”

Ms O’Doherty and Mr Waters were challenged by members of the public over their decision to bring the case and for their supporters’ failure to adhere to social distancing rules while in public.

The judge is expected to make his decision in coming weeks.

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