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Bar Council of Ireland fail to attend abortion hearing


ger12

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The Bar Council of Ireland, scheduled to appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee on the abortion issue today, pulled out saying it could not adequately represent the diverse opinion of its members.

Do you think it odd, considering how many of the academics today appeared to agree on many points in the hearings, that there is such diverse opinion in the Law Library (TCD professor William Binchy the dissenting voice I thought at today's hearing). Opinion was given from Jennifer Schweppe from the University of Limerick, Ciara Staunton of the law school at NUI Galway, Dr Simon Mills from the Law Library (who proposed his own legislation), TCD professor William Binchy and former Supreme Court justice Catherine McGuinness.

I also thought it interesting and concerning that a question I've raised before here was asked and dismissed as not having relevance to today's hearing by one of the academic experts (that is if a foetus were to survive in the event of a late termination, would it then e.g. be in the care of the State?).

Would it have more prudent of government to have invited and involved, for example, former Attornies General or leading Senior Counsel (with constitutional practices) in an effort to ensure there was open and all inclusive discussion of this issue?
 

Goa Tse

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Maybe they thought it would be ok if they pulled out . . .
 

LamportsEdge

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The rhythm method in political lobbying. Actually I'm surprised there IS a 'Bar Council'- I thought Kings Inn used to do all the stringpulling there.

Weird that the Bar Council should assume that it is their job to say nothing if as they imply their members are split 50-50 on this- ever stranger that the Bar Council of all people don't appear to understand that two referendums have been heard and a Supreme Court deliberation and that they can't offer any thoughts.

Very Irish.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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I also thought it interesting and concerning that a question I've raised before here was asked and dismissed as not having relevance to today's hearing by one of the academic experts (that is if a foetus were to survive in the event of a late termination, would it then e.g. be in the care of the State?)
I saw this question being asked, but I'm confused: why is this even an issue? In 99% of such cases an infant would have a surviving parent, and in the remainder it would be an orphan in the same way as any child whose mother dies in childbirth, and the child would be taken in to care.

So what's the big mystery exactly?

Would it have more prudent of government to have invited and involved, for example, former Attornies General or leading Senior Counsel (with constitutional practices) in an effort to ensure there was open and all inclusive discussion of this issue?
It seems that the witnesses were picked solely by its Chairman (Jerry Buttimer) and the clerk of the committee. The Government had nothing to do with it. This obviously led to the ridiculous situation where there was no independent eminent advice given today.

Binchy and McGuinness are obviously very eminent, but are hardly unbiased on the issue.
Schweppe, Staunton and Mills are legal minnows. (Although Mill was quite impressive today).

So in essence, the Health Committee hearings have heard NO independent legal advice from constitutional heavyweight lawyers on this issue. That is a spectacular blunder on the part of Buttimer and the clerk of the committee.
 

LamportsEdge

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Well as I have said the Supreme Court deliberation is a bit of a clue to the sum of the law on the issue so it would seem a bit of an arse to have barristers musing away at this hearing and saying something else entirely than what the Supreme Court have taken into account.

It doesn't explain either why the Bar Council couldn't send someone along to explain the legal position- which includes the known Supreme Court ruling. Maybe they've misplaced the file. That happens a lot.
 

ger12

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I saw this question being asked, but I'm confused: why is this even an issue? In 99% of such cases an infant would have a surviving parent, and in the remainder it would be an orphan in the same way as any child whose mother dies in childbirth, and the child would be taken in to care.

So what's the big mystery exactly?



It seems that the witnesses were picked solely by its Chairman (Jerry Buttimer) and the clerk of the committee. The Government had nothing to do with it. This obviously led to the ridiculous situation where there was no independent eminent advice given today.

Binchy and McGuinness are obviously very eminent, but are hardly unbiased on the issue.
Schweppe, Staunton and Mills are legal minnows. (Although Mill was quite impressive today).

So in essence, the Health Committee hearings have heard NO independent legal advice from constitutional heavyweight lawyers on this issue. That is a spectacular blunder on the part of Buttimer and the clerk of the committee.
I felt that there was indeed no independent eminent advice given today. While I agree Binchy and McGuinness are very eminent, but are hardly unbiased on the issue, I thought their contributions were valuable.

I'm not impressed with the panel today and shocked that the witnesses were picked solely by the Chairman.

Re: if the foetus were to survive in the event of a late termination, I would like to see that explored. The expert group on abortion have suggested that terminations 'at the fringes of viability' even where survival is not anticipated, should take place in centres which have neonatal intensive care units, and be carried out at such a time and manner as to maximise the foetal chances of survival.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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I'm not impressed with the panel today and shocked that the witnesses were picked solely by the Chairman.
Here's what happened yesterday morning at the opening of proceedings when an attempt was made to find out exactly how the witnesses were chosen:

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Has the committee signed off on the witnesses who were selected to come before it this week?

Chairman: Yes. The Chair was given plenary powers in advance of last night's meeting.

Senator Paul Bradford: I thank the Chairman for his inclusive introduction to the meeting. Will he give us some background as to how the various groups were selected to make oral presentations? My understanding is that interested parties, including some who will not appear before us this week, have by now-----

Chairman: I apologise for interrupting, Senator. To clarify, the committee has signed off on the witness list and we are moving on now to take opening statements.

Senator Paul Bradford: Will the Chairman indicate how that decision was arrived at?

Chairman: I cannot do so at this time. The matter has been agreed by the committee.
In other words, "we're starting now, so please shut up".
 

ger12

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Here's what happened yesterday morning at the opening of proceedings when an attempt was made to find out exactly how the witnesses were chosen:



In other words, "we're starting now, so please shut up".
Bit mad (and very concerning). So this is real politics in action.
 

Radix

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Why is anyone surprised?

Divided opinions among determiners of what is subjectively legal surrounding the division of protection for that which is objectively indivisible.

They would have opened themselves up to all sorts of legal actions down the road when Kenny's suicide clause heralds in liberal abortion, which of course cannot be defended either in the civic, moral or legal realm.

And well they know it!

This will blow up in the Government's face yet.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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So this is real politics in action.
Not necessarily, but it is our Parliament in action. It does prove that the Government's claims that it has reformed the Committee system is totally laughable.

Although I can't help that if a better and more independent-minded parliamentarian had been chairing it (Billy Timmins, John Crown) then we might have gotten a more worthwhile exercise.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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The Bar Council has no role in giving legal opinions. It deals with such matters as regulating office space for barristers, organising the stock of library books, keeping the computers and telephones in the Law Library working, enforcing professional standards, and organising continuing professional development courses. Its most controversial function is allocating some car parking spaces in the Four Courts.

I suspect that the Chairman of the Committee misunderstood what the Bar Council does and that the Bar Council wrote a polite reply which did not emphasise his error.
Sorry, but you're incorrect. The Bar Council is the representative body for Irish barristers, and regularly makes representations on their behalf, for example on the Legal Services Bill, being the most recent example.

Also, the Bar Council were written to, invited, and accepted the invitation, so it's not a question of the Committee making a mistake.
 

Keith-M

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This whole process is a charade designed to provide cover for TDs (also re-enforced by FG enforcing the whip). We're hearing nothing that we haven't head in countless TV and radio shows in the post six months. Apparently the range of opinions of barristers could not adequately be represented and so they opted out of this charade. Good call, I say.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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It's not correct to say that nothing of value has come out of this.

For instance, every single medical expert was asked whether (in their view) any deaths had taken place as a result of any vacuum (if one even exists) in Irish law - and every single one of them said no.

Also, Mr. Coulter-Smith (one of the masters) said quite openly that he didn't believe that further legislation was necessary.

Neither of these facts was reported in the media, and in fact RTE (that embarrassing moron David Davin Power) said that all three of the Masters had said that legislation WAS necessary - which was absolutely factually incorrect.
 

Diawlbach

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The Bar Council has no role in giving legal opinions. It purportedly deals with such matters as regulating office space for barristers, organising the stock of library books, keeping the computers and telephones in the Law Library working, enforcing professional standards, and organising continuing professional development courses. Its most controversial function is allocating some car parking spaces in the Four Courts. Christ knows what it actually does.

I suspect that the Chairman of the Committee misunderstood what the Bar Council does and that the Bar Council wrote a polite reply which did not emphasise his error.
Fixed. :mad:
 

Diawlbach

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Sorry, but you're incorrect. The Bar Council is the representative body for Irish barristers, and regularly makes representations on their behalf, for example on the Legal Services Bill, being the most recent example.

Also, the Bar Council were written to, invited, and accepted the invitation, so it's not a question of the Committee making a mistake.
Gunthar IS a barrister.
 

The Field Marshal

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I too failed to attend the abortion hearings. This omission is of far greater significance than anything the Bar Council of Ireland has or ever will do.
 

FakeViking

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This whole process is a charade designed to provide cover for TDs (also re-enforced by FG enforcing the whip). We're hearing nothing that we haven't head in countless TV and radio shows in the post six months. Apparently the range of opinions of barristers could not adequately be represented and so they opted out of this charade. Good call, I say.
From your earlier post, you were more interested in what the TDs were wearing, not what they said.
 
B

birthday

The Bar Council of Ireland, scheduled to appear before the Oireachtas Health Committee on the abortion issue today, pulled out saying it could not adequately represent the diverse opinion of its members.

Do you think it odd, considering how many of the academics today appeared to agree on many points in the hearings, that there is such diverse opinion in the Law Library (TCD professor William Binchy the dissenting voice I thought at today's hearing). Opinion was given from Jennifer Schweppe from the University of Limerick, Ciara Staunton of the law school at NUI Galway, Dr Simon Mills from the Law Library (who proposed his own legislation), TCD professor William Binchy and former Supreme Court justice Catherine McGuinness.

I also thought it interesting and concerning that a question I've raised before here was asked and dismissed as not having relevance to today's hearing by one of the academic experts (that is if a foetus were to survive in the event of a late termination, would it then e.g. be in the care of the State?).

Would it have more prudent of government to have invited and involved, for example, former Attornies General or leading Senior Counsel (with constitutional practices) in an effort to ensure there was open and all inclusive discussion of this issue?
They discovered, last evening, that there was no fee for attendance involved!
 

ger12

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I too failed to attend the abortion hearings. This omission is of far greater significance than anything the Bar Council of Ireland has or ever will do.
Too busy with the self-flagellation today FM?
 
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