Judge set to rule on applications challenging abortion referendum result

High Court will rule on two separate applications for permission to bring petitions

Charles Byrne is seeking to bring a petition challenging the result of the abortion referendum. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Charles Byrne is seeking to bring a petition challenging the result of the abortion referendum. Photograph: Collins Courts.

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The president of the High Court will on Friday rule on two separate applications for permission to bring petitions challenging the Yes result of the abortion referendum.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly will give his judgment at 2pm .

The applications were brought by Joanna Jordan, a homemaker, of Upper Glenageary Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin and by Charles Byrne, a piano teacher and musician, of College Rise, Drogheda, Co Louth.

Before a petition can be brought, the Referendum Act requires an intended petitioner to show prima facie evidence of matters likely to “materially” affect the referendum outcome.

Joanna Jordan is seeking to bring a petition challenging the result of the abortion referendum. Photograph: Collins Courts.
Joanna Jordan is seeking to bring a petition challenging the result of the abortion referendum. Photograph: Collins Courts.

On May 25th, 1,429,981 people voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment which granted equal recognition to the right to life of the unborn and the mother. 723,632 voted against.

The State has argued neither Mr Byrne nor Ms Jordan have met the criteria for a petition.

During the hearing of the applications last month, lawyers for both intended petitioners alleged irregularities in the conduct of the referendum and registration of voters. They also complained about statements made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris during the referendum campaign.

Mr Byrne also alleged the Referendum Commission failed to meet its statutory obligations in relation to providing fair and accurate information in its guide and website. The Commission denied those claims.

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