State must be notified before new challenge to same-sex result

Challenge brought by man seeking to quash decision to issue final referendum certificate

 A Vote Yes poster being erected  last April in advance of the referendum on same-sex marriage. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

A Vote Yes poster being erected last April in advance of the referendum on same-sex marriage. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A High Court judge on Tuesday directed that a new legal challenge against the result of the same-sex marriage referendum must be heard on notice to the State.

The latest challenge has been brought by Gerry Walshe, an electrician, of Lisdeen, Co Clare, who seeks to quash the decision of the State to issue and sign the final referendum certificate in August while he had an earlier challenge in being, since dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court last week refused to permit separate appeals by both Mr Walshe and Maurice Lyons, from Callan, Co Kilkenny, against the rejection of their challenges to the Yes result of the referendum.

The bill formally allowing same-sex couples to marry will pass through the Dáil and Seanad over the coming days and weeks.

No ‘points of substance’

In its decision last week, the Supreme Court decided that neither Mr Walshe nor Mr Lyons had met the requirements for a Supreme Court appeal, as neither had raised the necessary legal point of general public importance and had raised no “points of substance”.

The court also ruled the interests of justice did not require they be given permission to appeal the High Court’s earlier rejection of their case.

The Supreme Court had also noted that because no stay had been placed on the certificate of the referendum result after a Court of Appeal decision, “very serious constitutional consequences” might have occurred had it decided to grant leave to appeal.

The High Court dismissed the proceedings by both men on June 5th. The Court of Appeal upheld that decision on July 30th when it dismissed both men’s appeals against the High Court refusal and lifted a stay on the issuing of the final referendum certificate.

They failed to have further appeals heard by the Supreme Court.

Mr Walshe’s judicial review proceedings were put back until noon on Wednesday and he was directed by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan to contact the Chief State Solicitor about the proceedings by email and phone.