COVID-19, mootness and restrictions on religious observance in Ireland: Ganley

In our roundup on 26 December, we made a brief reference to a recent case in which the Irish High Court had dismissed a challenge to Regulations – by then revoked – that had banned attendance at public religious worship during various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the judgment is available, following is the full story.

In Declan J Ganley v Minister for Health [2021] IEHC 822, Mr Ganley, a practising Roman Catholic, was forbidden under level 5 Regulations lawfully to attend Mass, which he described in his amended Statement of Grounds as “the pre-eminent form of public worship of Almighty God in the Roman Catholic religion” [2]. He maintained that such restrictions were ultra vires the Health Act 1947, as amended, and contrary to Articles 15.2, 15.4, 44.1 and 44.2 of the 1937 Constitution of Ireland [3]. Continue reading