THE HIGH COURT
RECORD NO. 2819P/2007
CATHERINE MURPHY and
THE MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
7th June 2007
1. The High Court (Clarke J.) delivered reserved judgment in the action this 7th June 2007. The judgement was read out by the judge; the written copy will become available shortly. The following is a concise synopsis of the essential points of the judgement. (Readers should note that the Defendants denied that the publication of “The Principal Demographic Results” triggered any obligation on them to act.)
2. He declined to grant the Declarations sought by the Plaintiffs.
3. He found that, for the purpose of the Constitution, the relevant Census 2006 figures were ascertained at least by 29th March 2007, the day “The Principal Demographic Results” were published by the Central Statistics Office. Although the Preliminary Results from the CSO in 2006 were of a high order of accuracy they did not trigger the obligation to revise the constituencies.
4. However, the obligation on the Oireachtas to undertake the necessary revision is such that it could, and possibly should, indicate that the Oireachtas ought to commence the necessary work of revision based on the Preliminary Results and act urgently on the ascertainment of the “Principal Demographic Results”.
5. Although the Electoral Act 1997 and the system for appointing the Constituency Commission is reasonable it does not excuse the Oireachtas from addressing the need to urgently revise constituencies and to act in the light of that urgency as circumstances dictate.
6. The application of the Defendants for costs is adjourned to 22nd June 2007. The Court indicated that he did not view the merits in the case as being all on one side. The Plaintiffs stated they would be looking for their costs against the Defendants on 22nd June next.