RTÉ’s application to lift restrictions on naming an 11-year-old boy who was murdered by his uncle has been adjourned by the Central Criminal Court until Monday.
The mother of the boy had said she wanted to be able to name her child publicly, but the Central Criminal Court imposed restrictions on naming him or his killer following an Appeal Court ruling in October 2020.
The Appeal Court found that a restriction on identifying children who were victims of crimes, where criminal proceedings had begun, applied to living and to dead children.
Appeal Court ruling
Before this ruling, the media had identified both victim and accused in child-murder cases on the assumption that the section did not apply to deceased children.
As a result, the Appeal Court decision led to concerns among media organisations and prompted calls for the Oireachtas to reform the relevant legislation — section 252 of the Children Act 2001.
The law was subsequently changed to remove the restriction on naming dead children except in certain exceptional circumstances.
Before going on maternity leave, the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, signed the commencement order for the Children (Amendment) Act 2021. The act officially came into effect today (7 May).
In cases where specific orders remain, applications must be made to lift those orders.
RTÉ first applied for the order to be lifted in this case on Thursday, but Mr Justice Paul McDermott asked for the DPP and the convicted man to be put on notice.
According to RTÉ, counsel for the convicted man said today (7 May) that she had not had a chance to take instructions from him, but had not been able to identify any legal objection on which she could argue against lifting the order.
A solicitor for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said the senior counsel in the case was not available.
Despite a suggestion from Mr Justice Paul Coffey that the application was "irresistible", the solicitor said she would like senior counsel to be present in court.
The judge said that, as this was the first application of its kind, he would adjourn it until Monday to allow lawyers for the man to take instructions and to allow the DPP's senior counsel to be present.