IHREC appears as amicus curiae in case concerning prisoner’s rights

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) will today appear before the High Court as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the judicial review proceedings entitled McDonnell v. The Governor of Wheatfield Prison. The IHREC was granted leave to appear in the proceedings on 12 January 2015.

The Applicant, a prisoner in Wheatfield Prison, claims that his constitutional and human rights have been violated as a result of being subject to an alleged 23 hour lock-up regime since February 2014. The Prison Authorities have segregated the Applicant from the broader prison population as it is alleged he is at risk from other prisoners.

The human rights and equality issues which the IHREC will address in order to assist the Court include the constitutional right to bodily integrity, which includes a person’s psychological integrity, and protection from inhuman and degrading treatment as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. The IHREC considers that those rights have relevance to the provisions which allow prisoners to be placed on restricted regimes for their own safety over an extended period.

The IHREC will make its written submissions available on its website after the case has been heard.



For further information please contact Fidelma Joyce, IHREC, Mob: 087 783 4939


Notes to editor

  • On 1 November 2014 the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission was established through primary legislation – Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.
  • Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission sets out the functions of the IHREC. Section 10(2)(e)  provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any persons and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

  • This is the third occasion on which the IHREC will appear before the Superior Courts as amicus curiae.


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