The current pandemic has enabled me to do a great number of introverted activities, including reading, writing, and listening to a huge array of music. Last night, I found myself heavily invested in some music of the 1960s and stumbled across the Bobby Fuller Tour classic – I fought the law. A song that has great pertinence this week as Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters were refused leave by the High Court in challenging the COVID-19 Laws.
They have every right to attempt to obtain leave for Judicial Review as citizens of Ireland, but similarly, Justice Charles Meenan, in his role as a High Court Judge, has every right to tell them they are wrong, lack any scientific expertise and point out that opinion is no substitute for facts when it comes to the rule of law. It wasn’t so much that Ireland breathed a collective sigh of relief, I don’t think anyone other than the angry mob supporting the duo really expected anything to come from this, but maybe thought that there would be a longer fight. It was like the Siamese Twins of O’Doherty and Waters, representing Ireland’s far right bounced into the boxing ring expecting to take on the Irish law’s Ivan Drago, only for the referee to turn to the twins and tell them to bugger off out of the ring because they don’t have what it takes to beat an egg, let alone the law, before the bell for round 1 even tolled.
O’Doherty has bombarded our social media with attacks against the Irish state about how they are destroying everyone’s constitutional rights via the “Gestapo Gardai”, drawing parallels with our state and Nazi Germany. A personal favourite was when she quoted that “we didn’t spend 800 years of fighting the British so you could treat us worse” as if she herself kept busy during the time of rebellion by fashioning pikes and leading the charge against our oppressive neighbour. She is, after all, very brave. I mustn’t forget Mr Waters, of course. He too is equally culpable in talking equal amount of utter shite. After Justice Meenan told him and O’Doherty to take their ball and go home because nobody wanted to play with them, he was determined not to be outdone by his female colleague, the Hooch to O’Doherty’s Turner said in reference to the courts, that, “They are completely of the view that they own your institutions, your country, your rights, your constitution to do whatever they like”. Well my answer to Ireland’s Willie Nelson is, no, I’m afraid not Willie. They safeguard our institutions. They safeguard our rights. They safeguard our constitution. They safeguard us from people like you ever making any meaningful difference in the Ireland we live in.
But they have appealed, of course. And they will fail again, of course. And we will all take comfort in this. The fact that they will not be successful in providing “the biggest legal day in the history of the state” is therapeutic during these trying times, and the High Court decision will provide us all with a small amount of respite. But they will come again, no doubt with some other totally nonsensical issue they have about whatever, and they will get the airtime on Twitter that they rely on to breathe. However, if they keep trying, and keep failing, maybe they can both retire. I hear gardening is becoming very popular, or perhaps they can begin baking banana bread together, it might go a long may in resolving this vitriolic anger they direct at our state.