Irish President supports the Rule of Law

Not, in itself, a startling headline.. but in addressing the Law Society of England and Wales on the theme of ‘Lawyers’ independence, the Rule of Law and national security – striking the balance’, I wonder if President Mary McAleese thought at all about her role, among many others, in ensuring that legal professionals and the courts are able to help to safeguard public confidence here. And I wonder if anyone in the audience thought to mention that ‘good’ UDA or, indeed, Jackie MacDonald, and whether the right balance was being struck here. Didn’t think so.. Adds see belowFrom the PA report on the UTV website

Ms McAleese said legal professionals had the choice to be courageous champions of a rule of law and stand in the role of vindicator, judge or advocate for the despised, or simply be operators of whatever the system decides, like the death camp soldiers.

She added that both they and the courts had to help safeguard public confidence.

Ms McAleese, a trained barrister, was speaking out at the conference, Lawyers Independence: The Rule Of Law And National Security – Striking The Balance, in London.

She said some lawyers have paid a cruel personal price for maintaining their independence and for insisting that respect for even the most calumnified defendant`s human and civil rights is a signature value, while terrorism does exactly the opposite.

“Terrorists value their own cause so highly that the rights and suffering of the individual are of no emotional or moral consequence to them except as a means to their own ends,” she said.

“We are rightly aghast at their easy contempt for the men, women and children from whom they so cruelly take life, health and peace of mind.”

Added Oh, and RTÉ reports that the President is – ‘persistently optimistic’ that the Northern Ireland parties will be able to reach a deal on the restoration of the Stormont Assembly by the November deadline.

“I have every hope that come November we are going to see the sea change that so many of us have been hoping and waiting for. I am very, very hopeful.”

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  • Rory

    Oh, jolly good then. Let’s all have a few harumphs for the fairest maid in all the land, Miss Laura Norder. Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!

    On grand occasions of gatherings of legal eagles, commonly known as vultures, like this I am reminded of Blake who said (from memory):

    Their gaols are made of stones of law
    their brothels of bricks of religion

  • Pete Baker

    All very well harumphing at your vultures, Rory.. but the rule of law isn’t going away.

    The important thing is to have it applied, and for it to apply, equally to all.

    I keep mentioning it, but the best quote on it is still on the monument at Runnymede – “Freedom under law”

    Mary McAleese may not be the worst offender in subverting that objective, but she has played a part.

  • Donnacha

    IN all the talk about “the rule of law” down the years no one ever pointed out that adherence to such principles surely depends on who is making the law.

  • Pete Baker

    “surely depends on who is making the law”

    Welcome to democracy, Donnacha…

    “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.”

  • Rory

    I think the Mandy Rice-Davies rule applies here, Pete. After all Nero would have a good word to say about the benefits of deified dictatorship.

    The great democracy, the USA, cannot of course tolerate the practice of democracy in its southern neighbours and will use any means to suppress it. But only in defence of democracy of course.