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Former minister says having general election before constituency changes are made would be 'unconstitutional'

Joe Costello has submitted a High Court challenge in an attempt to prevent the dissolution of the Dáil until planned constituency changes are made.

90408577 Joe Costello pictured with Labour colleague Alan Kelly in 2016 Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

FORMER LABOUR MINISTER Joe Costello has submitted a High Court challenge in an attempt to prevent the dissolution of the Dáil until planned constituency changes are made.

Conor Power, legal counsel for Costello, today told Judge Peter Kelly, President of the High Court, that it would be unconstitutional for a general election to be held before the constituency boundaries are amended.

Costello is arguing that the Oireachtas could face a constitutional challenge if it doesn’t pass legislation to increase Dáil membership, following on from a Constituency Commission Report.

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Speaking to reporters outside the court, Costello said the issue “needs to be dealt with prior to an election taking place and to ensure that the people of the country have the representation they’re entitled to”.

Judge Kelly granted an accelerated hearing in the case, which is due to be held in the High Court tomorrow at 10.30am.

Documents are now to be served to the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the clerk of the Dáil.

‘Wasting time’ 

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock disagrees with Costello and has accused him of “wasting the High Court’s time”.

Joe Costello is quite simply wrong. The relevant Article in the constitution is clear cut. It is job of the Oireachtas to revise the constituencies. And it has yet to do so. It has just received the report with recommendations.

“Put simply, Joe is constitutionally ill advised here, and would be better served trying to convince Fianna Fáil not to cause an election than petitioning the High Court for an extra seat,” Rock said.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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Órla Ryan

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