Credit: Una McGurk via Youtube

Anti-lockdown lawyer bumped off Tribunal by McEntee

A barrister who has been outspoken in opposition to the Covid-19 lockdown has been bumped off a major Tribunal by Justice Minister, Helen McEntee. 

Senior counsel Úna McGurk was, until yesterday, a member of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (Ipat)  which reviews refugee applications and makes decisions on whether applicants are entitled to asylum in the state.

Some 70 barristers are appointed to the Tribunal. Mc McGurk’s second three-year term came to an end this week and the Minister decided not to renew her contract.

“The department can confirm that a decision has been taken not to reappoint the person concerned to the tribunal, and the person concerned has been advised accordingly,” the Department of Justice said.

Ms McGurk had come under fire after she appeared at an anti-lockdown rally which was also attended by parties opposing immigration. However, the barrister did not address immigration at the event where she spoke about the compulsory use of face-masks.

At the time, the Minister urged Ipat to “act urgently”, apparently in response to complaints from NGOs who sought to have Ms McGurk removed from the Tribunal. However following an investigation the Tribunal did not do so.

No evidence of bias has been shown in the decisions of Ms McGurk at the Tribunal in relation to applications for asylum. Critics have pointed to the record  of other members of the Tribunal who have publicly advocated for the asylum seekers.

This week, Ms McGurk lodged papers for a defamation case against a group of people she said had defamed her on social media.

The barrister named the organisation, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland  in the claim and included its founder Lucky Khambule and spokesman Bulelani Mfaco as defendants, along with direct provision campaigner Donnah Vuma.

Ms McGurk said she had been seriously defamed on social media – and that “open season on Una McGurk was over”.

 

 

 

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