The Supreme Court has granted a declaration that the State acted wrongfully in spending public money on the website, information booklets and advertisements in relation to the children’s referendum.
The court found that the Government did not conform to the required principles laid down by the landmark McKenna judgement.
If you can stomach it I recommend listening to the truly obnoxious response to the judgement by Justice Minister, Alan Shatter (News at One, 3rd report).
This most arrogant of politicians steadfastly and repeatedly refused to apologise for this blatant abuse of Government power.
I find myself in the unusual position of actually agreeing with John Waters’ on an issue.
Public money has been used to distort the campaign and therefore contaminates the outcome of the referendum.
It is worth recalling that the McKenna judgement (1995) came about because of the high principles and courage of former Green Party member Patricia McKenna.
Although campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote in the 1995 divorce campaign McKenna challenged the State’s use of taxpayers’ money to back the ‘yes’ campaign and not the ‘no’ side.
Her successful challenge means that the State is not permitted to preferentially use taxpayers’ money to fund one side or the other in a referendum campaign.
Of course, such trivialities as obeying the law or respecting the Constitution has never prevented Irish politicians from doing exactly as they think fit.
Hence Minister Shatter’s arrogant dismissal of the Supreme Court’s ruling and the complaints from those on the ‘no’ side.