EUROPEAN courts have been a force for good in this society.
Several benchmark rulings have challenged the insularity and conservatism that has dogged this State since its foundation. Others have vindicated individuals’ rights — the Waterford Crystal pensioners were an example — when official indifference left them exposed.
In recent days, the European Court of Human Rights has intervened in an ongoing case in which the State wants to extradite an unnamed man to a country in the Middle East. The State, through its legal team, has expressed the belief that the man is “the foremost organiser and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action” on behalf of Islamic State.
In the light of recent attacks in Europe and appalling barbarisms in Syria, there could hardly be more serious charges. However, the ECHR intervention means the beliefs of those charged with protecting this State must be, at least temporarily, set aside. This means that the individual, who has lived here for 15 years and been the subject of deportation proceedings for nearly a year, remains here. It is essential the time-honoured principles protecting individuals confronted by our legal system be observed. However, it is also essential that EU states have the tools to immediately protect themselves when they believe they have identified a threat. Suggesting anything else is dangerously naive and foolish.
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