Sinn Féin’s High Court commission challenge rejected

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has lost his High Court challenge aimed at having the Referendum Commission withdraw remarks it made earlier this month concerning Ireland’s veto over the ESM.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore branded the legal action a “last desperate attempt” by Sinn Féin to maximise its own publicity and sow confusion among voters.

But Mr Doherty insisted his party had gone to court because it was “an issue of central importance to the referendum”.

The ESM is the EU’s future permanent bailout fund for member states.

The commission is the independent body tasked with explaining the treaty in an impartial fashion.

Mr Doherty’s action, opposed by both the commission and the State, centred on a statement made by commission chair Mr Justice Kevin Feeney on whether Ireland could veto the ESM.

At a press conference on May 3, Mr Justice Feeney said that Ireland had “already agreed to the establishment of the ESM”.

He added that “the Dáil and Seanad had yet to rectify the treaty”, and that “it was clear that a veto could have been exercised but Ireland has already agreed to the establishment of the ESM”.

Mr Doherty claimed this statement meant Ireland no longer had the ability to use the veto, something he had disputed.

In his judgment dismissing the TD’s action, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said the statement could not be said to be misleading.

The judge said he would give a full written reasoning behind his judgment in June and would also decide on the issue of costs.

Vote advice

Polling booths open at 7am today and will close at 10pm.

The Department of the Environment has pointed out that citizens may be asked at polling stations to produce identification before they are given a ballot paper.

Some of the documents acceptable for identification include a passport and driving licence.

The count will begin tomorrow morning, with the formal result expected to be declared tomorrow evening.


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