High Court dismisses application seeking to halt Dáil vote on EU Migration and Asylum Pact

Judge says submissions put before him by Michelle Keane from Co Kerry ‘based on hearsay’ and not supported by evidence

The judge said the High Court could not grant an order preventing a Dáil vote as it would amount to a breach of the separation of powers of the court and the Oireachtas and Government. Photograpg: Bryan O'Brien

The High Court has dismissed an application seeking to prevent the Dáil from voting on the implementation of the EU Migration and Asylum Pact.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Mr Justice David Nolan dismissed Michelle Keane action against the Government and Attorney General. This was the second recent action seeking to prevent the Dáil from voting on the pact. A similar action was brought by barrister Una McGurk, which the court deemed was not properly issued so could not be dealt with.

The pact includes measures on enhanced screening and security checks and faster processing of asylum applications and a greater focus on efficiently returning those who are unsuccessful. It also providers for a mechanism that allows countries to either make a financial contribution or agree to relocate asylum seekers to other EU states.

The judge held that the application was “bound to fail” and said the court could not grant such an order as it would amount to a breach of the separation of powers of the court and the Oireachtas and Government.


The Dáil vote on the pact is due to take place on Wednesday evening. The Seanad has already voted to approve it, the court heard.

Representing herself, Ms Keane, from Knocknagoshel, Tralee, Co Kerry, argued the passing of the pact was unconstitutional as it breaches Irish sovereignty. She argued it should be considered by the electorate in a referendum.

The respondents, represented by David Fennelly BL, opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss it on grounds including that the application was procedurally flawed and amounted to a clear breach of the separation of powers.

Mr Fennelly also said the Oireachtas’s adoption of the measures in the pact was permitted under article 29.4.7 of the Constitution, which was approved by the people in the 2009 vote on the Treaty of Lisbon.*

The judge said submissions put before the court by Ms Keane were “based on hearsay” and were not supported by evidence. The case law on the separation of powers was clear “and binds my hands”, he added.

He said the court was also not persuaded adoption of the pact was unconstitutional, as alleged. The judge awarded the State parties their legal costs of the application against Ms Keane, who said she intends to appeal.

* This article was amended on June 26th to correct the relevant article of the Constitution. It had read 28.4.7. It now reads 29.4.7 of the Constitution