Thursday, January 31, 2013

Update on the legal challenges to the "Children's Rights Referendum" in Ireland

Kathy Sinnott has provided an update on the current status of the legal challenges to the recent Children’s Rights Referendum.

Kathy says they are taking a double case or really two cases.
The first case called "The Petition” has been taken under the Referendum Act to challenge the actual outcome of the Childrens Rights referendum.

The other case called, "The Plenary Case" is a constitutional challenge to the sections of the Referendum Act that make it virtually impossible to successfully challenge the result of a referendum.

Kathy in what she describes as a simplified lay explanation writes:
To us it is obvious that if a citizen has a right to challenge, it should be possible to challenge. And further if the government illegally interferes with the citizens right of referendum, there must be consequences.

However the two cases have two sets of arguments, opposite arguments.
In the petition, we must argue that the government's illegal interference had a "material effect" on the referendum outcome and in the plenary case we argue that it is impossible to prove material effect and that material effect is the wrong criteria for petitioning.

In view of this the running order of the case is important but for legal reasons unfortunately the petition is first but the judge in the case has taken the dilemma on board and has agreed to a running order that will allow us a fair fight in both cases.