Sunday 26 February 2017

Dearbhail McDonald: Children's referendum: a Supreme putdown

LAST month the Supreme Court ruled that the Government's €1.1m information campaign for the Children's Referendum – one that ran parallel to that of the Referendum Commission – was not impartial and breached the McKenna rules which ban the Government from using public funds to advocate a particular outcome in a referendum.

The fact that the Government's information campaign was shot down was bad enough – the self-inflicted wound may yet lead to the appalling and unprecedented political vista of the outcome of a referendum being set aside.

But the reasons delivered by the Supreme Court yesterday are politically devastating as they could sound the death knell for parallel information campaigns by the Government in future referenda.

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