Thursday 27 April 2017

Quinn backs Attorney General as FG TD questions legal advice on children’s referendum

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has expressed confidence in the Government’s legal adviser in the wake of the children’s referendum information campaign debacle.

A Fine Gael backbencher fired the first warning shot at Attorney General Maire Whelan over her role in Supreme Court ruling the Government's information campaign was biased.

Mr Quinn said the Cabinet would listen to the response of the Attorney General on the case.

“I do have every confidence in the Attorney General,” he said.

“We will listen carefully to the response from the AG to it [the Supreme Court ruling] – she is our legal adviser – and action will be taken consequent to that, but I can’t anticipate what that might be,” he said.

Two Government ministers have said that that the contents of the booklets – which were deemed to be not fair, equal or impartial by the Supreme Court – had been based on advice from Ms Whelan's office.

Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh said there were now "serious questions" to be answered about the Attorney General's role in approving the content of the information booklets and the accompanying website.

"If she played an active role in the final sign-off, then she would have to consider her position. The Supreme Court outcome probably gave people a reason to vote No," he said.

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