Thursday 8 December 2016

Both sides in challenge to RTE's refusal to include Green party leader in TV debate must pay own legal costs

Published 03/03/2016 | 17:36

Gerry Adams, Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin and Joan Burton before the last leaders’ debate ahead of the General Election on RTE’s Prime Time. Photo credit: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire
Gerry Adams, Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin and Joan Burton before the last leaders’ debate ahead of the General Election on RTE’s Prime Time. Photo credit: Tony Maxwell/PA Wire

Both sides in a challenge to RTE's refusal to include Green Party leader in its leaders' TV debate must pay their own legal costs, the High Court ruled.

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Green Party trustee Tom Kivlehan had sought the costs of his failed challenge to the broadcaster's exclusion of Eamon Ryan in the general election debate.

RTE had opposed the case arguing the Greens did not fulfil the minimum three-TD requirement for inclusion.  The Greens, who now have two TDs including Mr Ryan, had none at the time.

Both sides sought the legal costs of the case after Ms Justice Marie Baker ruled there was nothing unfair, irrational or disproportionate about the three TDs criterion.

Dealing with the costs issue, the judge said the case raised important issues relating to the "singular and unique" role of the media under the Constitution in educating and informing the public in the democratic process.

As this case seemed to engage a number of important questions for the first time, the appropriate thing to do was make no order for costs, meaning each side pay their own, she ruled.

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