The decision of Phelan J in Tallon v Director of Public Prosecutions  IEHC 322 (31 May 2022) is a recent and important judgment on the scope of the free speech rights protected by Article 40.6.1(i) and Article 40.3.1 of the Constitution. It concerns the extent to which an anti-social behaviour order imposed pursuant to section 115(1) of the the Criminal Justice Act, 2006 (also here) can permissibly restrain constitutional free speech rights.
2. Free speech rights in the Irish Constitution
2.1 The freedom of political expression
The right “to express freely … convictions and opinions” contained in Article 40.6.1(i) of the Constitution is now understood, broadly speaking, as a freedom of political expression, concerned with the public activities of citizens in a democratic society (see Murphy v Irish Radio and Television Commission  1 IR 12, 24,  2 ILRM 360, 372, (28 May 1998) - (doc | pdf) (Barrington J; Hamilton CJ, O’Flaherty, Denham, and Keane JJ concurring) building on Irish Times v Ireland  1 IR 359,  2 ILRM 161 (2 April 1998) (doc | pdf) (Barrington J)). And, in Dunnes Stores v Ryan  IEHC 61 (5 June 2002), Kearns J in the High Court struck down section 19(6) of the Companies Act, 1990 (also here), which required a company to provide an explanation or make a statement to an officer making inquiries about the company, on the grounds, inter alia, that it infringed the right to silence implied into Article 40.6.1(i) (a right now being relocated to Article 38.1 of the Constitution insofar as it relates to the fairness of the trial process; see Director of Public Prosecutions v M  1 IR 810,  IESC 21 (21 March 2018)  O’Malley J (Clarke CJ and O’Donnell, Dunne and Charleton JJ concurring); Sweeney v Ireland  IESC 39 (28 May 2019)  (Charleton J; O’Donnell, MacMenamin, Dunne and Finlay Geoghegan JJ concurring); Director of Public Prosecutions v Carroll  IECA 261 (13 October 2021)  (Donnelly J; Edwards and McCarthy JJ concurring)).…