When the right to privacy clashes with the right to investigate crime



It was the trial that gripped the nation, when, back in 2015, architect Graham Dwyer was sentenced to life imprisonment after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Elaine O’Hara.

  Last week Dwyer made headlines again when the convicted murderer won his legal action against the State and the Garda Commissioner over the use of his mobile phone data, something which formed a vital part of the case against him.

  Now, as several readers approached me over the weekend, asking if I’d explain exactly what this latest turn of events means, I said I’d touch on it this week, so here goes…

  For the sake of balance, let me say that Dwyer denies murdering Elaine O’Hara back in 2012 and claims that data gathered from his phone should not have been used in his trial and was a breach of his privacy. Let me also say that Dwyer wasn’t actually appealing his conviction last week; in fact what he was doing was looking at a particular law as it relates to data retention and access to it. Ya with me so far?

  The judgement reached is a complex legal one which is highly important and significant – not just due to the implications it could have around Dwyer’s murder case, but also in relation to other cases where this type of data may have been used. It’s also a lengthy one, (running to 101 pages), and I’d imagine legal experts are wondering if this strengthens Dwyer’s appeal regarding his murder conviction.

  In addition, (as I understand) one of the issues challenged focused around the general and indiscriminate retention of data, and it appears (and I could be wrong here), that the issue the Judge had was that there were no safeguards in place for the general public, i.e. ordinary, law-abiding people like you and me as to how our data is being used, retained and harvested. So, while this has now been addressed and rectified – and remember, it does not mean that Dwyer has got away with murder, (he’s still in prison) – he could potentially use this important ruling in the event he does appeal his conviction, and it could work in his favour.

  So, after all that I suppose we’re now left in a situation where the right to privacy is ‘clashing’ with the right of the Gardaí to investigate crime. And while we cannot have the indiscriminate use of citizens’ data, and I’m personally glad this situation was rectified, I have to say, it will certainly make things very difficult for detectives when they’re looking at data in relation to criminal activity in the future.


RIP Superwoman: It seems Gwyneth Paltrow’s mortal after all


I don’t know about you, but I’m still gobsmacked following holier-than-thou, know-it-all, kale-juice obsessive Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation that…wait for it, women should, (and I apologise for being blunt, but it can’t be helped), ‘steam out their vaginas in order to deliver an energy boost and powerful internal cleanse’. 

  OMG, how gut-churning is that image? I mean girls, imagine, somewhere in the world, there are probably thousands of neurotic eejits squatting over basins enduring the Paltrow-endorsed vag-steam…and that, for me, is both sinister and hilarious!

  However, just when I thought the so-called health guru was an over-privileged, insufferable alien sent from Mars to test our upper detestation levels, it’s emerged she’s actually quite human, probably very nice, and, it appears, full of self-doubt! All together now…aaaww!

  Let me explain! The woman whom, bless her bravery, often degrades herself by flying commercial, (imagine), admitting to finding “a sauna to sit in for 20 minutes to help me sweat out all the germs from the plane” when she lands – no doubt to cleanse her sacred feminine self of all the parasites we peasants emit – has this week revealed she doesn’t know it all!

  Yes folks, in order to grab a few column inches, therefore no longer languishing in the washed-up-hack archives of actors who’ve ruined their credibility by droning on and on about c**p, well GOOP in Gwynne’s case, rendering them to become box-office kryptonite, the recently married, (or consciously coupled) Paltrow has admitted her nurturing skills are questionable, divulging “I’ve never been a stepmother before. I don’t know how to do it”. Wow! RIP Superwoman!

  But hey, let’s give the poor little fearmonger, who does sterling work in lowering the world’s healthcare IQ, a bit of credit and say that yes dearest, it can of course be difficult to be a step-parent. You see, I know, because myself and he-who-refuses-to-panic-over-Christmas shopping, both have adult kids with former spouses. He has four. I have two. And while we’re definitely not a blended family, as in we all don’t live together (buíochas le Dia) – sure we’re not all even in the same country –  you’d need the diplomatic skills of Mahatma Gandhi to steer the egos of our combined adult diva daughters…and don’t get me started on hubby’s adult sons…I said don’t…I can tell you that step-parenting is not for the meek and mild, nor indeed, for the week-willed. So I empathise with you Gwynnie.

  You see readers, it may seem obvious, (it may not), but a parent will always have a higher tolerance level as well as a greater love for their own children. I’m holding my hand up here and admitting that I certainly do. Don’t get me wrong, my step-adults are wonderful but they have a fantastic mother, and don’t need me butting in…nosey aul bint that I am. And, as smart-aleck Gwyneth, who’s mum to 14-year-old daughter (Apple…I know), and 12-year-old son Moses…I hear ya), with ex Christ Martin, has now become a stepmother to new hubby Brad Falchuk’s two kids, she’s feeling the pinch. Serves her right! Sorry, I meant poor thing.

  Therefore, despite being ‘coupled’ in September, it transpires the Paltrow-Falchucks don’t live together because, according to step-mommy dearest, “It’s pretty intense, the teenage thing”. Wow, so I’m guessing Gwynnie now no longer believes that, “to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set,” and is now acknowledging that us ‘regular’ mortal mothers who aren’t pampered, stinkin’ rich movie stars like her snippy, snootiness actually do a pretty fantastic job raising our kids, and, for those saints who’re doing it…their step-kids. If that’s what she’s saying, then there’s hope for us planks, and I for one wish the fearless champion of women’s vaginal imbalance healthcare issues a bundle of happiness in her new blended, modern-family style adventure.