AuthorJulia Launders
Pagespp vii - x
Published date12 July 2022
Date12 July 2022
“Launched at the beginning of a new millennium and in an era of great
condence, the Hibernian Law Journal will reect carefully on the past, comment
critically on the present and look forward with optimism to the future.
ese words are inscribed in Volume 1 of the Hibernian Law Journal by the
Founding Editors and form the founding ethos of the Journal. Every Volume since
then has aimed to full these three tenets as a means of bridging the crossroads
between the study of law and the practice of law. As training and qualied solicitors,
we embark on a journey of practice, which this Journal aims to enrich with careful
reection on the past, critical comment on the present and hopeful optimism for
the future.
e previous few years alone have called for careful reection, as Ireland grappled
with the outbreak of a global pandemic. At the beginning of 2022, COVID-19
restrictions lied in Ireland and this brought with it a time to reect on the role of
the State during the pandemic. e plethora of regulations, the blurring of law and
guidance as well as the lack of human rights considerations in the decision-making
process were all concerns that arose from the executive’s use of emergency powers.
At the same time, the executive was leading the State during a health pandemic, the
scale and severity of which has not been known within this lifetime.
is prompted the choice of legal topic for this year’s Annual Lecture, Emergency
Powers and the Executive: Reections on the Past and a Vision for the Future. Our
Annual Lecture explored the role of the executive during a state of emergency,
drawing on the experience of the recent past. Warm thanks is extended to
our renowned panel of speakers: Jack Horgan-Jones of the Irish Times, Hugh
O’Connell of the Independent, Dr. David Kenny of Trinity College Dublin, Jim
O’Callaghan TD, and Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human
Rights and Equality Commission. e panel was exceptionally chaired by President
of the Law Society, Michelle Ní Longáin. It was clear from the talk that whilst
the State’s response came with a multitude of shortcomings, an overwhelming
positive was the State’s ability to respond swily in a time of crisis. Against this
positive, we should ensure these many shortcomings, whether the lack of human
rights principles in the decision-making process or the apparent gap between law
and guidance, do not arise again in the future by learning from this most recent
emergency response. Our Annual Lecture provided such a forum to consider these
lessons by commenting critically on the previous few years, whilst acknowledging
how prone we are in the present to neglect the recent past, as society returns to

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