Sunday 21 January 2018

State's use of public funds in information drive challenged

Aodhan O'Faolain

A CHALLENGE against the State's alleged use of more than €1.1m of public money on an information campaign about the Children's Referendum will be heard by the High Court early next week.

The action has been brought by Mark McCrystal, who claims the Government has been using information in its campaign that is not neutral and is designed to promote a Yes vote in the November 10 referendum.

Mr McCrystal, an engineer from Kilbarrack in Dublin, has brought proceedings against Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald, the Government of Ireland, Ireland and the Attorney General.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said the matter was urgent and fixed the hearing for next Tuesday.

Ms Justice Laffoy said that would be enough time for both sides to prepare their cases.

Mr McCrystal's barrister, Ruadhan Mac Aodhain, said his client was concerned that one-sided material had been used on a government website.

More than €1m was to be spent on the Government's information campaign.

In his action, Mr McCrystal claims the State was in breach of a 1995 judgment by the Supreme Court that held that referendums should be explained to the public in an impartial manner.

Irish Independent

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