NI: Coronavirus litigation hits courts as parent sues for school closures

NI: Coronavirus litigation hits courts as parent sues for school closures

Darragh Mackin

A mother of a child with underlying health problems has launched an emergency judicial review of ministers’ decision not to close schools across Northern Ireland.

Solicitor Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law is representing the woman, who is lodging proceedings against the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health, the Education Authority and the CCMS.

The woman’s daughter suffers underlying health problems, including severe asthma, and is therefore at a greater risk of harm should she contract the coronavirus.

She argues that the decision to keep schools open is unlawful and contrary to the necessary protections afforded to all citizens under the Human Rights Act.

Mr Mackin said: “It is clear that the respective public bodies have each failed in their respective obligations to our client, and indeed all children, by continuing to require their attendance at school in circumstances in which they would be at an increased risk of contracting the condition.

“There is no time for any further delay. The necessary policies and decisions all need to be taken in a manner that recognises the real and immediate risk.”

He added: “It is a deplorable situation when a mother has to initiate urgent legal proceedings to ensure that her child, and indeed children across the jurisdiction, are afforded the necessary protections and safeguards required under law.”

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