Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said supporters of John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty will be identified and investigated for congregating at the High Court both last week and today as the former journalists’ case against the lockdown restrictions was mentioned again, this time before Mr Justice Charles Meenan.
A large Garda presence was in place as approximately 50 members of the public gathered for the judicial review proceedings, although none were permitted access to the hearing.
Ms. O’Doherty insisted their exclusion was unwarranted given the normal requirement to hold such hearings in public, but Gardaí, advising supporters to return home, pointed to the current restrictions on mass-gatherings as justification for denying entry.
A file will now be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, detailing the alleged infringement of Covid-19 restrictions by certain members of the public today.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said supporters of Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters who gathered outside the Four Courts last week and today will be identified and investigated by Gardai. pic.twitter.com/OWatbACZJv
— Áine McMahon (@AineMcMahon) April 28, 2020
Inside, Justice Meenan set the hearing date for Tuesday 5 May, as Ms. O’Doherty and Mr. Waters seek application for permission to challenge aspects of the Covid-19 emergency laws and 1947 Health Act.
Represented by Patrick McCann SC, the State said the claims are not arguable and are opposing the application for leave, which, if successful, could see a host of Covid-19 restrictions struck down and laws declared null and void by the High Court.
Expressing concern that the case might be delayed, Mr. Waters said the case was “one of the most important in our history.”
Ms. O’Doherty told the court that people are under “mass house arrest” and that the plaintiffs’ claims are arguable.
Mr. Waters and Ms. O’Doherty addressed supporters after the hearing, with stiff criticism being directed at journalists outside the Four Courts.
One journalist asking why they had allegedly broken social-distancing rules and why supporters were not wearing masks appeared to get too close to the crowd to maintain the recommended 2 metres.