Public Health, Ethics and Law Research Network (PHELN)
The aim of the Public Health, Ethics and Law Research Network (PHELN) is to promote cross-disciplinary research in public health, ethics and law in the UK and Ireland. It involves an academic collaboration between colleagues based at the University of Edinburgh, University College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast, as well as liaison with the Public Health Ethics Special Interest Group, UK Faculty of Public Health.
About the project
PHELN involves the running of a series of cross-disciplinary webinars and workshops to examine the relationship between public health, ethics and law, focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic by way of case study. Key project objectives include the development of academic-stakeholder collaborations, and the establishment of a sustainable public health, ethics and law research network in the UK and Ireland.
Key aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic which will be examined during the course of the project include:
- the values informing policy and law-making during the COVID-19 pandemic
- ethical and legal issues arising in the context of the COVID-19 vaccination programme
- the nature and impact of the public-private provision in managing aspects of the pandemic
- human rights concerns with respect to vulnerable groups adversely impacted by the pandemic
The planned project activities will also facilitate critical reflection regarding the feasibility of the ‘two-island’ approach to managing the pandemic. This is in addition to exploring how we should understand the concept and reality of borders in policy, legal and geographical terms in responding to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/V009222/1) and the Irish Research Council (IRC/V009222/1). The support of the ESRC and the IRC is gratefully acknowledged.
Professor Anne-Maree Farrell
Chair of Medical Jurisprudence, Edinburgh Law School
Professor Mary Donnelly
Professor Law, University College Cork
Professor Deirdre Madden
Professor of Law, University College Cork
Professor Thérèse Murphy
Professor of Law, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Clayton Ó Néill
Lecturer in Law, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Mary Tumelty
Lecturer in Law, University College Cork
PHELN: FIRST WEBINAR + WORKSHOP – 16 JUNE 2021
COVID-19 Vaccination in the UK and Ireland: Ethics in Practice
On 16 June 2021, the Public Health Ethics and Law Research Network (PHELN) hosted a public webinar event and an online workshop, examining COVID-19 Vaccination Programmes in the UK and Ireland.
The public webinar event involved an interactive discussion between Ms Patricia Donnelly, Head of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Northern Ireland; Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain, Member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), Ireland; and Professor David Archard, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast.
All three speakers discussed the ethical, policy and practical issues at stake in implementing COVID-19 vaccination programmes, focused on the following questions:
- What values have, or should have, informed the COVID-19 vaccination programme?
- How did we go about, or how should we have gone about, determining priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination?
- What are some of the practical issues faced when implementing this type of vaccination programme?
An edited webinar presentation can be accessed on Media.ed.ac.uk.
Following the webinar, an online workshop was held which brought together a range of academics, public health professionals and policy-makers to reflect on the issues raised in the webinar.
A Working Paper was prepared for attendees at the workshop, which can be accessed under Outputs on this webpage.
PHELN: SECOND WORKSHOP – 6 MAY 2022
On 6 May 2022, the Public Health Ethics and Law Research Network (PHELN) hosted its second workshop, examining Care and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Values, Governance and Accountability.
A copy of the agenda for the workshop, including a list of speakers, can be accessed here.
A range of speakers discussed the ethical, policy and practical issues at stake in addressing the risks posed to residents in care homes during the initial waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on Ireland and England. This also included an examination of the identified failings in governance that arose for such residents, including the human rights implications.
A Working Paper was also prepared for attendees at the workshop, which can be accessed under Outputs on this webpage.
PHELN: ROUNDTABLE EVENT – SEPTEMBER 2022
The topic to be examined at this event will be ethical and legal perspectives on pandemic preparedness. Further details to follow.
The Management of COVID-19 in Care Homes in Ireland And England: Ethical and Legal Issues in a Time of Pandemic
ME Tumelty, C Ó Néill, M Donnelly, AM Farrell, R Frowde and L Pentony, Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2022/11, June, 2022
COVID-19 Vaccination and Legal Preparedness: Lessons from Ireland
ME Tumelty, M Donnelly, AM Farrell and C Ó Néill, European Journal of Health Law 240-59, 2022
COVID-19 Vaccination, Preparedness, and the Case for Vaccine Injury Redress
ME Tumelty, M Donnelly, AM Farrell and C Ó Néill, Mason Institute Blog, 20 December 2021
COVID-19 Vaccination in The UK And Ireland: Ethics In Practice
C Ó Néill, ME Tumelty, M Donnelly, AM Farrell, R Frowde and L Pentony, Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2021/16, July 2021