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Joanna Jordan outside the Supreme Court yesterday.
children's referendum

'It was worth it': Woman who could lose millions for taking Supreme Court case

Joanna Jordan petition to overturn the result of the 2012 referendum was rejected yesterday.

THE WOMAN WHO took the government to the Supreme Court over the Children’s Referendum result has said “it was definitely worth doing”.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court dismissed Joanna Jordan’s petition to overturn the result of the 2012 referendum.

It had already been rejected by the High Court.

Using state monies 

The court ruled the Government’s conduct – specifically using State monies to publish an unbalanced information campaign (breaching the McKenna principles) – did not impact on the outcome of the referendum.

Her appeal against this decision was unanimously dismissed by the seven-judge panel today.

Speaking after the ruling, her solicitor Kevin Brophy said Jordan had to prove almost beyond doubt that the referendum result would have been different because of the government’s breach of the McKenna principles.

He said Jordan wanted to show “the bar was too high” to take challenges against referendum results.

“It effectively meant that no body could challenge the outcome of a referendum.”

unnamed (8) Mattie McGrath with Joanna Jordan and solicitor Kevin Brophy. Christina Finn Christina Finn

He said that despite the petition being dismissed, Jordan did achieve in “setting the bar considerably lower, so that in future, if something like this happens and the government blatantly breaches the McKenna principles” again, citizens will be able to challenge it.

“I think the people of Ireland have Joanne to thank for that.”

Jordan said the judgement of the Supreme Court clarified how it would assess such cases in the future.

The judgement ruled that it has not been established that it is reasonably possible that the actions of the Minister materially affected the outcome of the referendum as a whole.

Retaking and postponing a referendum is possible 

The Supreme Court ruled that making an order for the retaking of a referendum poll in every constituency is a remedy open to a court “when there has been a breach of the McKenna principles”.

The judgement also mentioned what would happen if a referendum needed to be postponed.

… the Minister argued that it was open to the Oireachtas to pass emergency legislation to postpone a referendum, that is not the only remedy. It is also possible for an appellant to apply for an injunction from a court.

Jordan is now hugely exposed in terms of costs, which the court said it would deal with at a later date.

She said she felt she had still made an impact, stating that the the Irish Constitution is a very important thing to protect.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, a supporter of Jordan, said he did not expect the court to make her pay costs.

‘Don’t mess with us’

However, he said if that did happen it would send out a message to the public of “don’t mess with us, don’t mess with the government, take your medicine, lie down and accept it”.

McGrath said it was apt that the ruling came out just as another referendum is around the corner.

Christina Finn / YouTube

Read: The Children’s Referendum will not have to be held again>

Read: Enda says a full inquiry into Siteserv would take quite a long time>

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