Taking the Direct Route - The Irish Supreme Court Decisions in Crotty, Coughlan and McKenna (No. 2)
44 Pages Posted: 15 May 2009
The manner of conduct of Constitutional referendums in Ireland has come under particularly sharp focus since the defeat of the referendum which was intended to facilitate the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon in June 2008. The Supreme Court rulings considered in this article - Crotty v. An Taoiseach, McKenna v. An Taoiseach (No. 2) and Coughlan v. Broadcasting Complaints Commission and RTÉ combined with the failure of successive executives and legislatures to react to them in an adequate manner with legislation have played a significant role in the failure of Ireland to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon by the time of writing. Indeed, if the decision not to ratify the Lisbon Treaty is not ultimately reversed, it may well be that these judgments will collectively come to be regarded as the most significant examples of judicial activism in Irish legal history. Somewhat curiously, notwithstanding the very major impact which Supreme Court jurisprudence has had on the frequency and conduct of referendums on European Treaties in Ireland, the case-law examined here has until recently attracted relatively little academic attention. This article seeks to redress this lacuna.
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