Belfast student wants right to vote in repeal referendum
The Government is opposing a Belfast woman's High Court application seeking to extend the franchise in the forthcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment to Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland.
Student Roisín Morelli claims Irish citizens north of the Border have a constitutional right to vote in referendums. She is seeking leave to bring judicial review proceedings before the referendum takes place on May 25.
Her case is against the Taoiseach, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Minister for Health, the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Attorney General.
The State parties say it is inappropriate to deal with such a far-reaching matter involving the electoral acts in such a short timescale. It should also be dealt with through a normal High Court plenary hearing rather than by way of judicial review, the State says.
Yesterday Mr Justice Seamus Noonan fixed next Friday for the hearing of Ms Morelli's application for permission to bring the proceedings, along with the State's application that the matter go to plenary hearing rather than judicial review.
The judge said it was less than six weeks to referendum day and it seemed to him "close to impossible" that the matter could be dealt with "to finality" before then, given that it would probably have to eventually go to the Supreme Court after it goes through the High Court.
Ms Morelli argues that not dealing with the matter before May 25 could have implications for the validity of the result.