Legal authorities investigating ‘conduct’ of anti-lockdown barrister

A photo of a gavel, the kind used by a judge, and the kind barrister Tracey O'Mahony is likely familiar with.

Legal authorities are investigating a controversial barrister who’s planning to challenge the government’s lockdown legislation in court. According to Tracey O’Mahony, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) is looking into her “conduct”. 

O’Mahony has become a figurehead for the Irish far right and anti-lockdown movement in the last 18 months. She also co-founded the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR) as part of her legal challenge of the state’s COVID-19 laws. Since its founding she’s also raised over €136,000 via a GoFundMe campaign for the legal proceedings.

Investigation

The former Renua member and barrister made the announcement on her Twitter account on Tuesday 29 June. O’Mahony said the LSRA was looking into her “conduct” and suggested that it’s being carried out as a result of her “doing the right thing”. She also declared that anybody who thinks they can stop her is “delusional”.

On its website the LSRA says its “key functions are to regulate the provision of legal services” barristers and solicitors provide. It also monitors “standards in the provision of legal services”. And it receives and looks into complaints in relation to these services.

A spokesperson for the LSRA told The Beacon it “does not comment on individual complaints”. But they highlighted that the organisation can receive and investigate three types of complaints. These relate to the quality of service barristers or solicitors provide, the costs they sought for services, or actions on their part which amount to “misconduct”. 

A legal expert familiar with the process explained to The Beacon that the LSRA could be conducting a “serious investigation” of O’Mahony. Or she could’ve simply gotten a letter from the legal authority based on a complaint it received. 

Legal challenge

O’Mahony is a popular figure in Irish anti-mask and far-right circles. 

In 2019 and 2020 she helped organise a number of “free speech”rallies which far-right activists and parties attended. They were there to protest against the government’s then proposed updating of Ireland’s hate speech laws. The barrister also appeared alongside Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters at such a rally in Balbriggan, Dublin in January 2020. She told the crowd the government was intent on outlawing criticism. And as a result, “We will not be able to criticise people that we disagree with. Biology, government policy, immigration; no matter what it is we will not be able to criticise it”.

Along with her brother Neil, also a former member of Renua, O’Mahony founded the ICHR and registered it as a limited company in November last year. 

On the website for the organisation it’s written that it plans on “defending and promoting the rights that already exist” by opposing anti-COVID measures. The website lets visitors download template letters which claim to exempt them from mandatory mask-wearing on public transportation and in shops. It also provides templates for parents who don’t want schools to vaccinate their children or test them for COVID-19. 

To date the group has raised over €136,000 from donations on GoFundMe to challenge the government’s lockdown legislation in the High Court. Galway-based legal firm Benen Fahy Associates is representing O’Mahony and the ICHR in the legal action. Maria Browne, the chief state solicitor, is due to represent the minister for health and the state in the proceedings.

The court services have yet to list a date for the case.

Featured image via Pexels

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