A legal challenge to a ban on undischarged bankrupts standing in European and Dáil elections has been withdrawn after the High Court heard the law has been changed allowing them to stand.
Jillian Godsil – an Independent candidate contesting the Ireland South constituency in the European elections on a debt relief platform – had challenged the constitutionality of the law preventing bankrupts contesting European and Dáil elections.
Ms Godsil’s She is also contesting the local elections in her home area of Baltinglass, Co Wicklow. There is no bar to bankrupts contesting local elections.
Her challenge to the law was initiated in March and the court heard yesterday that, on April 16th, legislation was passed repealing the bar on bankrupts contained in the 1992 Electoral Act
As a result, Richard Humphreys SC, for Ms Godsil, said her case was moot. It was obvious the action had prompted the Bill amending the legislation, counsel said, and he was applying for his costs against the State.
Robert Barron SC, for the Attorney General and Ireland, opposed the costs application arguing the State had to defend the constitutionality of its laws. Ms Godsil was adjudicated a bankrupt in February, and initiated proceedings in March, and no delay could be attributed to the State side.
Legal costs denied
The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said he would allow Ms Godsil the outlay of her proceedings but not her legal costs, with the effect she will get the cost of administrative work involved, such as stamp duty on filing documents.
Ms Godsil said she had no option but to file for bankruptcy because she had unsecured debts of some €1 million, no life savings and was in receipt of social welfare payments with income of about €1,300 a month.
Bank of Scotland last year repossessed her former family home, Raheengraney House in Co Wicklow, valued at €1.65 million in 2007 and with a mortgage of €800,000.