Opponents expected to challenge likely referendum result in court

If the Children's Rights Referendum is passed as expected, it is believed the decision may be challenged in the courts, in light of last week's Supreme Court ruling.

Less then 48 hours before polling day, the Supreme Court ruled that the Government's information campaign - in the form of its website and household booklets - favoured the Yes campaign.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald says the material was put together in good faith and that all the normal procedures involving the Attorney General and the Department of Children were adhered to.

However, Minister Fitzgerald's admitted the Supreme Court ruling will force the Government to examine its involvement in all future referenda.

"That is a question that is going to be undoubtedly now for Government to consider - whether there is a role for Government in relation to referenda and if there is, what is that role," she said,

"Because clearly now, we have to wait to see the full judgement to see precisely what information that the Supreme Court felt should not have been in the document, but the approach of the Government was to inform, as it was in previous referenda."

Journalist John Waters, who advocated a No vote, says he thinks if someone were to challenge the outcome of today's referendum, they would have a very strong case.

"There has certainly been a very short time since the last opinion poll," he said.

"Therefor, I think there's an argument to be made that with more time … remember this is different to … the McKenna case, in that there were eight days before the vote. So there was, as it were, time for this wrong to be righted.

"There was only 24 hours after the Supreme Court judgement on Thursday before the [broadcast] moratorium kicked in."


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