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.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty