Independent TD Mattie McGrath has strongly criticised the lack of legal instruction provided to barristers acting on behalf of the state during his High Court challenge to the constitutionality of postponing the General Election vote in Co. Tipperary. Deputy McGrath had attended the Court after he was informed that in order to avert the possibility of a future judicial challenge to the outcome of the general election, the High Court would have to issue an order instructing the Minister for Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to officially re-initiate the General election process in Tipperary:
“This is a deeply disappointing development. It has introduced further uncertainty, delay and confusion around what the state is saying unofficially and what it is prepared to say officially before the Court.
As things stand the poll has been countermanded, but the state has not officially withdrawn the countermand.
They must make an order but have so far not done so.
We reluctantly went to the High Court in order to exert legal pressure as part of our bid to secure guaranteed protections for the franchise rights of the people of Tipperary.
The state can sign an order before coming back to court tomorrow at 2pm but as I understand it this would not be an ideal scenario going forward.
That is a matter for another day. Right now, however, the people of Tipperary need clarity. That is what I want to provide them with.
The polling officers also need firm written assurances and clarity.
The State had the opportunity to provide that clarity today and to remove all doubt.
Unfortunately, through its own inaction this case is now set to go on for another day in what is already a tight window of opportunity and with no guarantee that the state’s legal team will be any better instructed tomorrow than it was today.
The people of Tipperary deserve better than this muddled and confused approach” concluded Deputy McGrath.