Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breaking: Irish Supreme Court rules Irish Government information campaign in the Childrens' Rights Referendum was not fair, impartial or equal

The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that the Government's information campaign on the Children's Referendum was not fair, impartial or equal. The court held that the information in leaflets and on a website did not conform to the required principles laid down by a landmark judgment - known as the McKenna judgment.

The principles prohibit the use of public funds to promote a particular outcome in a referendum.

The court ruled that extensive passages in the booklet and on the website did not conform to these principles. The material also included a misstatement.

It granted a declaration that the State acted wrongfully in spending public money on the website, information booklets and advertisements in relation to the referendum.

However, it did not grant an injunction as the court assumed the State will stop distributing and publishing the material.

The case was taken by Mark McCrystal of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin who claimed the Government was wrongly using €1.1m of public funds to promote a Yes vote, something which was not allowed under the McKenna Judgment.

The Government had denied the information campaign was biased towards a Yes vote.
The case was given priority by the Supreme Court as the referendum takes place on Saturday.
The full reasons for the decision will be given next month.

The link to the Children's Referendum website,, is no longer active.

If the Government proceed with the Referendum now it will be showing a callous disregard for the Constitution and the institution of the family in an attempt to codify its ideological agenda.
In view of this judgement ELN calls on the Irish Government to abandon this referendum now or at the very least postpone it until proper information packs can be prepared setting out both sides of the issue in a fair and impartial manner. In this event it will also be essential to ensure that adequate financial support be made available to the NO side and that sufficient time is provided for a proper debate.