Mr Justice Hogan bins Sinn Fein’s entire case against referendum commission…

Last kick of the Referendum campaign was Pearse Doherty’s appeal to the High Court aimed at

…having the Referendum Commission withdraw remarks it made earlier this month concerning Ireland’s veto over the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

In fact, what he argued – and failed to convince the High Court of – was that the Commission was misdirecting the public on their potential to enact a veto over the ESM. Chairperson of the Commission Mr Justice Kevin Feeney on May 3rd (yep, three weeks ago) said:

“The government in this particular position has chosen not to exercise its veto; it has agreed to the establishment of the ESM and that is the factual position. What theoretically could be done is a matter for political discussion and political argument”

Last night the Judge noted the extreme lateness of the appeal, which Mr Adams had already informed the press had all been ‘a matter of timing’ [ya don’t say Gerry? – Ed]. The ruling this morning was on a charge by Sinn Fein to the High Court that the Referendum Commission’s output has favoured the Yes side.

Another piece of high noon brinkmanship fails for want of any viable content… In fact it is not that surprising since what Sinn Fein was attempting to do was to get the judicial system to make a political ruling [Never heard of the separation of powers Gerry? – Ed] in favour of the No side.

He also noted that he was not given enough time [ahem – Ed] to make a clear decision on EU and domestic laws about how to ratify the treaty…

We’ll bring you more detail as and if it comes to hand… [That’ll be about the 6th June at the earliest – Ed]

Update: Mary Minihan in the Irish Times:

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan this morning found against Sinn Féin’s claim that two statements by the commission were substantially different.

He said he was not convinced there was any difference of substance between the two statements, and described Mr Doherty’s contention as not well-founded.

He also said he was not in a position to say that the Referendum Commission’s first statement, complained about by Sinn Féin, was clearly wrong or likely to affect the referendum result.

He said there was absolutely no doubt that the statement was considered, thoughtful and measured. The argument advanced by the commission was absolutely legitimate, he added.

  • keano10

    Okay – Point of order here:

    This is Mick’s lead thread so who in this instance is “Ed” who has used their editorial powers to pepper the entire piece with sarcastic conments. This always happens more on threads concerning Sinn Fein than any other topic.

    Surely it is up to us as the bloggers/commenter’s (call us what you will) to voice our respective opinions on any issue. I fail to see what such a large number of generally useless editorial interruptions actually contribute here? They make the piece unreadable and only reflect the “ed’s” many personal “issues” with SF as a political party.

    It is all very unprofessional and it devalues the site by attempting to direct us in how we should respond. I for one, resent that.

    I can probably guess who “ed” is in this instance, perhaps these contributions should now be knocked on the head full stop?

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry, I got a bit carried away.

    I was just trying to point up that this was a gambit to try and get a bit of momentum at the death rather than a real attempt to right a wrong.

    But the timing was transparently self serving. It’s what we used to call ‘messing’, in the good old days…

  • salgado

    keano10 – you’re overreacting a bit there, they hardly make the piece “unreadable” or force you to respond in any particular direction.

    I have wondered about “Ed” myself, I usually assumed it was just an affectation by the blogger to add sarcastic asides.

  • Drumlins Rock

    so wonder boy Pearse has been told off for wasting the courts time with a political stunt, tut tut.

  • Blissett

    The title ‘Mr Justice Hogan bins Sinn Fein’s entire case against referendum commission…’

    matches poorly with this ;
    ‘He also said he was not in a position to say that the Referendum Commission’s first statement, complained about by Sinn Féin, was clearly wrong or likely to affect the referendum result.’

    In effect the court decided (perhaps reasonably) that it didnt much fancy making such a complex and controversial decision in the hours before a vote, and in effect kicked to touch.
    That it refused to say Doherty was correct, is not to say that same as him being incorrect.

  • Dec

    ‘I usually assumed it was just an affectation by the blogger to add sarcastic asides.’

    Which only ever appear in SF threads. Go figure that out.

  • salgado

    Dec – before now I’d only really noticed them in Pete Baker threads (probably on SF) so it was a reasonable assumption.

  • Mick Fealty


    Look up the BBC/RTE post… Guido uses the aside in almost every post… it’s a shakespearian device… old as the hills… so let’s try not to get paranoid…

  • Mick Fealty


    There’s a point of principle he wants established on how treaties are ratified… But the action failed in all other respects…

    Not that Mary Lou did not put in a good performance with Simon Coveney this lunchtime… timing and tone pitch were perfect…

  • Pete Baker

    “Which only ever appear in SF threads. Go figure that out.”

    [*ahem* – Ed]

    Go figure…

  • babyface finlayson

    “it’s a shakespearian device”.
    Much used in ‘The Beano’ too.
    Just saying.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ah… those were the days… [Ominous rumble…]

  • cynic2

    “This always happens more on threads concerning Sinn Fein than any other topic.”

    Awww …but the poor dears do so offer themselves up to satire. By the way, who paid SF’s costs for this waste of time?

  • Dec


    I’m sure you’ve examples of numerous of DUP/SDLP/UUP threads where they’ve been used.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, it’s not a bad way of not talking about the subject of the thread I suppose.

  • redhugh78

    ‘Last kick of the Referendum campaign was Pearse Doherty’s appeal to the High Court..’

    Really? You must have missed Mary Lou Mc Donald mark the increasingly shrill Minister Simon Coveney’s card during the lunch time RTE news debate just before the moratorium.

  • Mick Fealty

    If you check back on the thread youll see I did it. She wiped his eye.

    But that’s not news. A big number defeat will lead people back to a fairly wreckless campaign.

    You only have to look at what this case says to ordinary voters: “these guys are reckless gamblers, and they are asking me to take a wreckless gamble with Irelands future”?

  • weidm7

    Well done keano10 for a fine rebuttal to this heavily biased article, I’m glad someone did, cause I know I wouldn’t have been able.

    If you accept going overboard Mick, perhaps a retraction is in order? Or a heavy re-write?

    We can expect heavy bias from commenters, perhaps we can demand a bit more from the bloggers?

    Perhaps because of SF’s existing northern vote share, length of time in government and increasing southern vote share, the bloggers might start to treat them as any other party instead of leaving us wade through sarcastic, spiteful articles looking for considered analysis.

  • weidm7

    Some of us don’t have a problem with a legitimate armed struggle against an oppressive state.

  • Mick Fealty


    What did I get wrong?

  • Lionel Hutz

    “Some of us don’t have a problem with a legitimate armed struggle against an oppressive state.”

    That is the best line I have read on slugger. Absolutely brilliant. Please tell me the irony in that line was intentional.

  • Lionel Hutz

    its gone, what happened there.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “….treat them as any other party…..don’t have a problem with a legitimate armed struggle.”

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Mick Fealty

    It was a response to a piece of manplaying… Remember this is for serious discussion lads…

  • babyface finlayson

    I can see no mention of armed struggle, legitimate or otherwise, in the blog piece.
    The only person mentioning it is you.

  • Mick Fealty

    Back to the story. Fionnan Sheahan reports that this case is going to cost the taxpayers of the Republic €200k.

    As for the idea that there is any disrespect for the party’s mandate in all of this, I refer you to Lise Hand’s sketch in today’s Indo…

    Dead parrot politics she calls it.. “.. Feet in the air, bottom of the cage.”

    It was a stroke, plain and simple. Rather than cast a pall over the Yes case as was intended, it has left a serious question mark over the policy base of SF’s campaign.

    Now if you want me to obscure those facts, out of some faux respect for a legitimate mandate you’re reading the wrong blog.. I have the deepest of respect for SF’s mandate, but it is out of respect for the reader (whatver their Poltiics) I’ve tried to point up what was actually going on here…

  • Lionel Hutz


    I dont think that you should feel the need to justify a blog piece. If this site was merely for fact reporting, it would just contain a series of web links and quotes. Surely people read blogs the get the bloggers insight or opinion. Otherwise you just perform a google search.

    Anyway, I’d say the immediate effect of this stunt (ie on the referendum) will be an even draw. There hasn’t been enough time to criticise the action. But if the yes vote wins, which as I understand is likely, couldn’t this be used to lambast Sinn Fein?

  • weidm7

    Mick, perhaps less of the sarcastic Ed comments and I personally reckon the title suggests that SF’s case was lambasted and thrown out immediately which doesn’t reflect the judge’s considered tone and judgement. Altogether leading to an article with considerable anti-SF sarcasm, which seems to be run-of-the-mill and accepted on this blog, so while perhaps respecting their mandate, you don’t seem to respect their elected officials or their principles. I find no fault in the facts as reported in the above article, those are the things that happened and you analysed said events very competently, apart from my above objections.

  • Mick Fealty

    Look, I do weidm. Honestly. It may not seem like that, but I really do.

    But I also respect and understand the apolitical role of the judiciary (we’ve seen a lot of damage done when they’ve on occasion been hitched to the purposes of the state).

    It seemed to me that that respect was bottom on the list of the partys considerations in taking this case to the High Court.

    The Judge called an end to proceedings at midnight the night before the broadcast moratorium. I agree that he was considered and dignified and very careful not to cast aspersions on the party for taking the action.

    I fully expect therefore that he will the find that the state should pick up the 200k bill for the proceedings.

    But I believe that it was very close to disrespecting the necessary separation of powers between the judiciary and the legislature to take such an untenable action at such an unconscionably late hour.

    Worse, it seemed to me an attempt to unnecessarily stress the referee when the action could have been taken at any time in the last three weeks.

    The gentle sarcasm above is the least such actions deserve. I don’t want politicians rushing the judiciary any more than I want an activist judiciary taking legitimate powers away from elected politicians.