Latest Publication: (2013) 3(3) IJLS 54

My latest article has just been published in a special issue of the Irish Journal of Legal Studies. The piece, co-authored with my Durham colleague Laura Graham, can be accessed here and is entitled “Impossible Floodgates and Unworkable Analogies in the Irish Abortion Debate”. The abstract is as follows:

Twenty years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Attorney General v X. [1992] 1 I.R. 1 confirmed that there is a limited constitutional right to access abortion in Ireland under Article 40.3.3˚ of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Irish government has passed the first piece of legislation that would regulate its availability. The debate about the introduction and form of this legislation is rife with floodgate arguments, suggesting (either implicitly or expressly) that the introduction of abortion legislation within current constitutional boundaries would only be a starting point, following which so-called “abortion on demand” would flow. In this article we address three of the core legally-grounded floodgates arguments that are made, outlining how these fears are unfounded, disingenuous, and, more particularly, how comparisons to the British abortion regime are unhelpful, by reference to the constitutional position in Ireland. These arguments relate to: the lack of a time limit on the availability of abortion; suicidal ideation; and the possibility of patient-doctor collusion. This article aims to show that these arguments have no current legal purchase within the Irish context. Rather, the fears and concerns represented by these floodgates arguments are already managed by the very limited constitutional availability of abortion in Ireland. As such, we argue, these arguments ought not to be given undue weight in the debates, which should instead focus on introducing a clear, workable and effective legislative framework for women in Ireland to exercise their right to access an abortion where they wish to do so in a manner that reflects the constitutional position.

The IJLS is an open access journal published fully online by my former colleagues in University College Cork Faculty of Law.

Inaugural Lecture now Online

In June I delivered my inaugural lecture, entitled “Counter-Terrorism Everywhere”, in Hatfield College, one of the sixteen colleges at the University of Durham. The lecture was part of the University’s public Inaugural Lecture Series. Part of the publicness of the series is the commitment to making these lectures available for all to see, and so the recording of the lecture has now been posted on the Durham University YouTube channel and the University site that hosts all the of videos of the inaugural lectures. The lecture can be viewed here.


Application for Snowden Warrant fails in Dublin: What next?

This afternoon in the High Court an application for a provisional arrest warrant for Edward Snowden under the Extradition Act 1965 was refused. There is no particularly spectacular basis for the refusal. In a short judgment, Mac Eochaidh J. held that one of the requirements of s. 27 of the 1965 Act–that the location of the alleged offence be specified in the request–was simply not fulfilled. As there was a period of time when Mr Snowden was outside of the United States after he last accessed the NSA but before the first publication it was not clear that the offences alleged had been committed in the USA. One imagines that, provided the United States knows where the offences were committed, the application will be resubmitted. Thus it is germane to think a little about what the provisional arrest warrant under s. 27 means. Continue reading Application for Snowden Warrant fails in Dublin: What next?

Savage Sunday, Today FM July 7th

I will be appearing on Savage Sunday on Today FM on Sunday July 7th to be part of a panel reviewing the news of the past week and the Sunday papers. The segment will run from approximately 11.10 am to noon. Irish listeners can tune in on 100-102 FM; people outside of Ireland can listen live on the Today FM website.

Update: The podcast is now here, and my segment is from about 21 minutes onwards.