Mac Airt v Minister for Justice & Equality and ors

 
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[2018] IESCDET 192

THE SUPREME COURT

DETERMINATION

Clarke C.J.

O'Malley J.

Finlay Geoghegan J.

BETWEEN
CIARÁN MAC AIRT
APPLICANT
AND
MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
IRELAND

AND

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
RESPONDENTS
APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL TO WHICH ARTICLE 34.5.4° OF THE CONSTITUTION APPLIES
RESULT: The Court does not grant leave to the Applicant to appeal to this Court directly from the High Court.
ORDER SOUGHT TO BE APPEALED
COURT: High Court
DATE OF ORDER: 22nd August, 2018
DATE OF PERFECTION OF ORDER: 22nd August, 2018
THE APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL WAS MADE ON 7th September, 2018 AND WAS IN TIME.
REASONS GIVEN:
General Considerations
1

The general principles applied by this Court in determining whether to grant or refuse leave to appeal having regard to the criteria incorporated into the Constitution as a result of the 33rd Amendment have now been considered in a large number of determinations and are fully addressed in both a determination issued by a panel consisting of all of the members of this Court in B.S. v Director of Public Prosecutions [2017] IESCDET 134 and in a unanimous judgment of a full Court delivered by O'Donnell J. in Price Waterhouse Coopers (A Firm) v Quinn Insurance Ltd. (Under Administration) [2017] IESC 73. The additional criteria required to be met in order that a so-called "leapfrog appeal" direct from the High Court to this Court can be permitted were addressed by a full panel of the Court in Wansboro v Director of Public Prosecutions (2017) IESCDET 115. Accordingly it is unnecessary to revisit the new constitutional architecture for the purpose of this determination.

2

The application for leave filed, and the respondent's notice thereto, are published along with this determination (subject only to any redaction required by law) and it is therefore unnecessary to set out the position of the parties in detail.

Discussion
3

This application relates to the refusal of the High Court (McDonald J.) to grant leave to the applicant to seek judicial review. The subject matter of the proposed proceedings is the appointment of a Mr. Harris as the new Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. The applicant says that the appointment was unlawful, not by reason of any defect in the appointment procedures, but on the basis that Mr. Harris is not an appropriate person to serve in this position. In brief, the applicant's complaint arises from the fact that Mr. Harris was previously a Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (and, before that, an officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary). It is claimed that, by reason of his involvement in investigations carried out by that force into certain notorious murders in Northern Ireland, he would be compromised in the performance of his duties as Garda Commissioner. The applicant seeks declarations concerning the obligations of the respondents to investigate the murder of Irish citizens; a declaration that Mr. Harris would, by reason of his obligations under the Official...

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