Declaration - excessive delay in filling the said vacancy by failure to call a By-Election

The High Court in Dublin has ruled that the Irish government has "unreasonably delayed" holding a by-election in Donegal. The decision came following a legal challenge by Sinn Fein senator Pearse Doherty. The seat in Donegal South-West has been vacant since June 2009. The court ruled that the delay was "unprecedented" and it amounted to a breach of Senator Doherty's constitutional rights. Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said it was the longest delay in the history of the Irish state and represented a significant proportion of the five-year parliamentary term. He said the relevant legislation did not set out the time period within which an election should be called but added that he was satisfied it should be interpreted as requiring it to be called within a reasonable time. He said he was not going to order the government to call the by-election or not to oppose a motion to call it. But, he added that he hoped any clarification provided by his judgement would have that effect.

Posted by Cathal N. Young, O'Reilly & Co. Solicitors, 39 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland Ph: 00353 1 6712773

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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