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IHREC to have role in Patrick Quirke appeal
Sinead Gibney of IHREC Pic: RollingNews.ie

06 Oct 2022 / courts Print

IHREC to have role in Patrick Quirke appeal

The Supreme Court has granted the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) permission to use its amicus curiae (friend of the court) function in a case that will examine the reach of search warrants in relation to electronic devices.

In the case, DPP vs Patrick Quirke, a search warrant was used by an Garda Síochána (AGS) to seize an electronic-data device belonging to Quirke, who is appealing his conviction for the murder of Bobby Ryan.

The search warrant was challenged at trial and on appeal, on the basis that the item seized was not specified in the search warrant used by AGS.

The challenge to the search warrant was unsuccessful at the trial, and on appeal before the Court of Appeal.


The commission says that it will now assist the court on the issues raised and, in particular, safeguards in relation to the use of search warrants for the seizure of electronic devices.

The amicus curiae function, set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, allows the human-rights body to address the court in a non-partisan role on issues concerning human rights and equality that have wider consequences for society in general.

Sinéad Gibney (chief commissioner of IHREC, pictured) said that search warrants were an important tool for effective policing.

“As electronic devices permeate every aspect of our lives today, it is important to explore and consider safeguards regarding the use of search warrants in the seizure and examination of these devices,” she said.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland