AuthorMs. Justice Catherine McGuinness
The publication of this new Volume of the Trinity College Law Review is,
as always in the series, very welcome. The standard of the articles is
impressive and their subject-matter has a wide range. It is clear that the
various authors are in touch with current developments, both legal and
socio-political. In the field of economic life, articles include the examination
of the possibility of decoupling voting rights from economic interest and the
study of European Insolvency Law, a subject area which looms large in
current court work and in widespread reporting in the media.
Over the years it has been traditional for the Law Review to keep in
touch with current case-law. This tradition is well maintained in Volume
XVIII both in the analysis of Ó Maicín v Ireland, and in the Case Comment
on PP v HSE. This is the most recent case to bring the terms of the Eighth
Amendment of the Constitution into question due to the sad death of a
pregnant woman while the foetal heartbeat of her unborn child still
continued. The writer of this Case Comment draws attention to the
difficulties inherent in the stipulation introduced into the Constitution by
Article 30.3.3 that the right to life of a mother and her unborn child are
equal, and to the caselaw which has attempted to balance these rights since
1983. Her view is that the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act
“has not appeared to be effective in adequately balancing the competing
rights of the mother and the unborn.” She rightly shows in her analysis of
the High Court’s judgment in PP that in that case the Court was able to
avoid deciding on this balance of rights, since all the medical evidence
showed that the unborn child would not survive to birth. However, the Court
introduced the concept that the “best interests” of the unborn were to be
included in an assessment of Article 30.3.3. The author concludes that this
concept may have been given excessive significance, leading to a position
where the rights of a mother would be regarded with insufficient concern.
In the early part of the article the author points out that since the enactment
of the 1983 Amendment “the recognition of the right to life of the unborn
has proved to be contentious.” One has only to look at the Oireachtas
debates on a recent Private Member’s Bill to acknowledge the continuing
truth of this statement.
I have to admit a particular interest in a number of the articles included
in this Review due to their relevance to current interests of my own. The
article on “The Role of Dignity in Human Rights Theory,” which argues
that human dignity operates as an organising principle in human rights

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