Result of divorce referendum is formally signed by High Court


THE referendum certificate confirming the divorce poll result was formally endorsed in the High Court yesterday and formally returned to the Referendum Returning Officer.

The certificate signing was the final step in the process of confirming the referendum result. Copies will now be sent to the President and the Taoiseach and it will he written into law.

The sitting of the three judge divisional court of the High Court followed the Supreme court's dismissal of Mr Des Hanafin's appeal against the outcome of the referendum.

Mr Thomas Sexton, the Referendum Returning Officer, formally received the certificate from Mr Justice Murphy after he the two other judges, Mr Justice Lynch and Mr Justice Barr and the court registrar had signed the certificate.

At the beginning of the brief hearing, Mr Justice Murphy said that the High Court had made an order on February 9th last. It ordered that the petition be dismissed and that the provisional referendum certificate be confirmed without alteration.

Pursuant to Section 57 of the Referendum Act 1994, the court also ordered that a statement of such confirmation be endorsed on the certificate and that it should be returned to the Referendum Returning Officer.

The court put a stay on the orders. The High Court judgment was appealed by Mr Hanafin to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal and ordered that the High Court orders should stand affirmed.

Mr Justice Murphy said. "As the return of the endorsed certificate to the Referendum Returning Officer concludes the judicial process in relation to the matter and requires the returning officer to implement the statutory duties imposed upon him by Section 40 of the Referendum Act 1994, duties which form part of the legislative process, it is our view that the certificate should be returned to the Referendum Returning Officer in open court and that will be done accordingly as soon as the statement has been signed by each member of the court and the registrar.