Gardaí may approve the use of Facial Recognition Technology

Gardaí may approve the use of Facial Recognition Technology

The introduction of facial recognition technology (FRT) is being considered by Justice Minister Helen McEntee to aide Gardaí in conducting rapid automated searches for suspects in criminal investigations.

Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill

The minister is to seek Cabinet approval to include the proposed measures around FRT at committee stage amendments to the forthcoming Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill, which is expected to be enacted before the end of the year.

Reports indicate that Minister McEntee will tell the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference of instances where concerns surrounding public safety, tackling crime, and national security trump the absolute right to privacy.

While the GRA has cautiously welcomed the announcement, saying that anything which can protect its members or enable a more efficient way to tackle crime would be helpful, it wants to see the exact details of the proposal.

Facial recognition technology, which is currently utilised by international agencies such as Europol and Interpol, enables the police to carry out automated searches of CCTV or video footage in relation to suspects in criminal investigations.

At present, Gardaí are required to sift manually through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage in such investigations. In defending the decision, Minister McEntee stated that it would be hugely helpful to the Gardaí in identifying an offender or proving a person’s innocence, particularly when it comes to cases involving child abuse/exploitation.

Extreme Risk

Protesting the details of the announcement, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said it is “strongly opposed” to the use of FRT by law enforcement or in public spaces due to the “extreme risk” that it poses to people’s rights. It pointed to evidence of such technology being used to identify and target people who are “minorities and not white”, noting that there has been instances of wrongful arrest in the United States when such technology has been utilised.

The ICCL expressed further worry around giving the Gardaí enhanced powers in terms of FRT, given their “poor record on data protection”. In addition, the ICCL noted a failure to demonstrate that using FRT is either necessary or proportionate, a legal requirement under human right’s law.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Couple Wins Appeal Against Injunction Preventing Removal from Accommodation

Couple Wins Appeal Against Injunction Preventing Removal from Accommodation

A couple who has been living in temporary accommodation in Dublin following storm damage to their apartment have won a High Court appeal against an injunction that will prevent them from being moved.

The court heard how the couple had lived in an apartment on the Malahide Road in Dublin since 2014. The home had been provided to them by the Clúid Housing Association, a not-for-profit which provides homes for people on council housing lists.

‘Temporary’ Accomodation

Following numerous complaints made to the not-for-profit of anti-social behavior and other matters prior to September 2018, the couple were temporarily rehomed while it was undergoing repairs due to storm damage.

Upon leaving the apartment, they were first put up in a hotel and then shortly moved to self-catering accommodation. Finding this accommodation unsatisfactory, they were then moved by Clúid to Burnell Court on what they were told was a temporary basis. While the couple informed Clúid that they wished to stay at their new residence, the housing association again informed them that it was only on a temporary basis, and that they would be required to return to the location of their original tenancy once repair work had been completed.

Although the repairs had been completed by December of 2019, the couple did not move back despite warnings from Clúid that they could lose their tenancy. In September of 2020, warning letters were sent to the couple that the housing association intended to launch legal proceedings.

The case eventually came before the Circuit Court in March 2021, with an injunction being granted ordering the couple to leave their accommodation on Burnell Court. Shortly after, their original apartment was rented out to another family.

Acquired Tenancy Rights

Appealing to the High Court, the couple stated that they had continued paying rent at a higher rate for the second apartment than the first. They further claimed that if the injunction was granted they would be rendered homeless, and that they had acquired tenancy rights by virtue of being in Burnell Court for more than six months.

On Friday, Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger refused the injunction, stating that the matter should be dealt with at a full hearing of the case when all the facts and information will be before the court. She further noted that an injunction was an inappropriate remedy in the circumstances of this dispute, saying that the cases made by both sides would be improved during the process of discovery and/or oral testimony that can be examined and cross examined.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Government to Discuss Proposals for a National Living Wage

Government to Discuss Proposals for a National Living Wage

“Important change for workers in Ireland ”

Mr Varadkar was peaking at the launch of Open Doors Initiative’s Pathways to Progress, a new employment support hub for migrants in to Ireland that aims to support marginalised groups to access further education, employment and entrepreneurship in Ireland. Of the proposals due before government, Mr Varadkar said that introducing a living wage “will be an important change” for workers in Ireland.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that proposals to introduce a national living wage in Ireland are due to be put forth before the government prior to its summer recess this year.

At present, the minimum wage in Ireland stands at €10.50 per hour. According to the Living Wage Technical Group, comprised of researchers, academics and social justice groups, the living wage in Ireland is €12.90 per hour, €2.40 higher than the current national minimum wage.

The Living Wage Technical Group advocates for the introduction of a national minimum wage, set at €12.90 per hour, stating that this amount makes possible a minimum acceptable standard of living in Ireland today.

“Adequate income”

According to the group’s findings, a national minimum wage is “based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable standard of living.” It further states that the introduction of a national minimum wage would be “evidence based”, grounded in social consensus and derived from “Consensual Budget Standards research which establishes the cost of a Minimum Essential Standard of Living in Ireland today.”

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Minister McEntee set to extend Outdoor Drinking Laws

Minister McEntee set to extend Outdoor Drinking Laws

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that the law had given “much needed certainty to licenced premises during the pandemic”, and that it had allowed “publicans and restaurant owners across the country serving alcohol in relevant outdoor seating areas to operate lawfully”.

The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021, introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland permitting licenced business to serve alcohol in outdoor settings, has been extended for six months until November 2022.

The legislation was first introduced in July 2021 after An Garda Síochána stated that bars and restaurants were not permitted to serve alcohol in outdoor settings that had been temporarily established to mitigate the disturbance to business caused by the pandemic and the accompanying restrictions.

“Much needed certainty”

The laws applies to outdoor seating areas that have been authorised by relevant local authorities on public land, or where they are on private land abutting the licensed premises as provided for in the 2021 Act.

Although COVID restrictions have now been lifted in Ireland, Minister McEntee noted that many businesses across the country, such as pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs, were still struggling, and that is was important to give them the necessary assistance that they required under the Act.

“The extension of this legislation is a key support in that regard”, she said.

Modernised Licensing System

Minister McEntee further added that she was “committed to enacting alcohol licensing laws that reflect the changing expectations and lifestyles of 21st century Ireland. A modernised licensing system will play an important role in revitalising existing night-time economy businesses.

“To this end, my Department is currently working on the drafting of the general scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill. This is advancing well, and it is my intention to progress this legislation in the months ahead with a view to enacting it this year.”

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Registering an enduring power of attorney? Watch out for the new practice direction

Registering an enduring power of attorney? Watch out for the new practice direction

An enduring power of attorney is a document created which gives power to another person if you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself. The document should be prepared when you are in full capacity, meaning, when you are capable of making your own decisions. You determine who will make important decisions on your behalf in the event that you can no longer do so.

It is extremely important that you appoint an attorney who you trust to make these decisions. Once it becomes necessary, the attorney can, not only make decisions on your behalf, but sign legal documents for you.

The enduring power of attorney must be completed according to strict rules and must be signed by you and your attorney.  Your doctor and solicitor must also sign a declaration to say that you have capacity at the time.

Registering the document

Once the attorney believes that you may be losing capacity to make decisions on your own, they should then proceed to register the document. This is done by applying to the Registrar of Wards of Court Office, part of the High Court.

A medical certificate is required to register the document. The medical certificate must state that you are no longer in a position to make your own decision, that is to say, you no longer have capacity.

Changes

The new practice direction that came into effect on 16 November 2020 and it concerns the content of medical certificates. All medical certificates must now include the following information.

  1. The date, place, duration and circumstances in which the medical examination was carried out.
  2. Any prior relationship between the medical practitioner and the donor.
  3. The nature of the examination carried out by the medical practitioner.
  4. The medical practitioner’s opinion as to whether the donor is or is becoming incapable of managing their affairs, and if so,
  • the nature of their illness/condition;
  • the likely date of onset of that illness/condition;
  • their symptoms;
  • the evidence relied upon in making their diagnosis; and
  • whether the illness/condition is permanent or likely to improve.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*