bar mask

"I have returned in suitable attire, your honour."

A High Court judge in Ireland has booted a barrister out of court, after the advocate refused to wear a face mask.

Barrister Eamon Marray told Judge Leonie Reynolds that he was exempt from having to wear a face covering, and offered to show the judge an exemption certificate on his phone. But the judge said she would need to see the original medical document, before allowing the maskless barrister into court. 

Marray agreed to take part in the hearing via a remote link, vowing to provide the written certificate later. However, Reynolds then decreed that masks were mandatory, as the claimant's mother, who was present in court, was a vulnerable person. 

“Marray has been appearing in courts without a mask all through Covid,” said a source, according to a report in The Times. “He made the point last week that he was called to the Bar of Ireland and had a constitutional right to appear in this case, but the judge was adamant in her approach.”

The barrister had appeared at other hearings without a mask, and informed other judges he was exempt, The Times article added. 

The case was later adjourned in the week as a person involved in the proceedings had a positive antigen test. 

A statement during the pandemic by the Chief Justice of the Irish courts, which remains in force, says that although face coverings are "not is strongly recommended" that all people attending court should wear one, except for those who cannot wear one "for medical or other welfare considerations...or who are behind a protective screen."

In the great mask debate, Marray is not the first lawyer to be challenged over a refusal to wear a mask. One solicitor has called for clearer guidance on exemptions for masks.  

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Anonymous 10 December 21 08:45

Feel sorry for the guy if he is exempt. I have asthma and wearing a mask is horrible. For a lot of us we take care by abiding by all the other rules but we can only do so much. 

Hey, Nonny Mouse! 10 December 21 08:54

I can understand some people can't wear the cloth masks, but what is the problem with wearing a full face see-through shield? 

Lydia 10 December 21 09:28

ON those saying what is the problem with shield it depends on your exemption reason. It might be because of past trauma such as rape where your face was covered and even the shield causes the issue.

Also the article says it is just guidance not law to wear a mask in Irish courts if you are exempt and we need a quote from the legislation anyway not just "guidance". Since March 2020 there has been constant confusion between non binding guidance and law.

TopDaawg 10 December 21 09:37


He doesn't have to wear one. The guidance is very clear on that. As such, he shouldn't even have to wear a see-through shield.

WAKUPYOUSHEEP 10 December 21 12:27

Masks are pointless, they do not stop the spread of viruses, anyone who thinks otherwise has done ZERO research into this FACT and is clearly a SHEEP following BULL5HIT orders from a clearly CORRUPT government, wake up FFS.

Anonymous 10 December 21 13:51

A bit worrying when judges don't know the law. I hope a formal complaint is made and it is made unequivocally clear that she was wrong and shouldn't do it again.

T 10 December 21 15:21

The evidence base for or against masks is remarkably thin for a government which has taken both positions at different times while in both cases claiming to follow the evidence. The only large randomised control trial was the Danmask 19 trial. Various medical journals briefly censored the empirical results for wrongthink. The study didn't test whether masks protect others, but did conclude that there was no statistically significant protection conferred on the wearer.

I am strongly in favour of the rights of individuals to make their own decisions in this area.

Helen 14 December 21 11:15

Good, sick of hearing this hogswipe about 'exemptions'. In Hong Kong everyone, even children, wears a mask 99% of the time even in the summer and I have never heard of anyone claiming exemptions ever. Not saying this is right or even that sane, but it shows how far exceptionalism has gone in the UK. 

Anonymous 14 December 21 16:34

@Helen - I think that you will find that the vast majority of those with an exemption in the UK are the survivors of rape and other serious cases of sexual abuse. 

Given that the latest figures indicate that over 40% of women in the UK have been raped at least once before the age of 25, that should not be a surprise to you.

But of course, you think the best response is to blame the victims for 'exceptionalism'.


Newsflash 'Helen': Those women aren't exceptional, because for women in the UK sexual abuse, harassment and rape are routine everyday occurrences.

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