Image: The Times

The Law Society of Ireland is calling for solicitors who work on emergency custody hearings or family law cases to be named as ‘key workers’, allowing them to  be among the earliest workers to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

The Bar of Ireland has written to the government with the request that barristers be designated as key workers for early vaccination, after a number of solicitors working in Ireland complained that regulations around social distancing and the wearing of masks are not being adhered to in court hearings or garda stations.

Ken Murphy, the director general of the Law Society, said:

“Practitioners who are involved in urgent family law and child protection applications, and those with clients in custody and other urgent matters that are still being heard in the courts, have a good argument that they are a particularly vulnerable group.

“They have a duty to vulnerable people and they should get the earliest possible access to vaccines that would protect them from the special risks they run.”

At present, key workers in essential jobs who cannot avoid high risk of exposure are the 10th group in line to be vaccinated. The Department of Health said it would make a decision about key workers to be vaccinated, along with the Health Service Executive and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.