Covid rules and the rule of law

 

Sir, – A Department of An Taoiseach press release issued on March 31st states, “If you have received the second dose of the vaccine more than two weeks ago, you can meet with other fully vaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying two metres apart. This measure comes into place immediately.”

Notwithstanding this Government statement, presented as a measure with immediate effect, it remains a criminal offence under current Covid regulations to invite people from another household to visit your dwelling unless you and they are part of a paired household. No exception to this legal rule has been introduced for fully vaccinated people.

This is but the latest example of the Government misleading citizens about their legal obligations.

In October, the Minister for Health told the Dáil that the organisation of religious services was not a criminal offence, but gardaí continued to prosecute people anyway.

The Government has now changed its interpretation of the law, maintaining in the High Court that the organisation of religious services is a criminal offence.

Given the Government’s volte-face on the issue of religious services, it is hard to trust the advice that fully vaccinated people can meet indoors. This advice, indeed, is contrary to the laws, and anyone who follows the advice could be prosecuted.

The Government’s persistent misrepresentation of citizens’ legal obligations offends the rule of law and corrodes public trust. – Yours, etc,

Prof ORAN DOYLE,

Prof DAVID KENNY,

Covid-19 Law and

Human Rights Observatory,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.