SF wins by-election ruling
SF wins by-election ruling

The High Court in Dublin has upheld a legal challenge by Sinn Fein aimed at forcing the coalition government to hold the long-awaited by-election in Donegal South West.

For over a year, Fianna Fail and the Green Party have clung to power by refusing the fulfil the constitutional requirement to fill vacant seats in the Dublin parliament.

Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty had taken the issue to judicial review, calling for a date to be set for the vote after a seat in his constituency had lain empty for more than 16 months.

In his ruling today, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said there had been an “unreasonable delay” in the moving the writ for the byelection.

Three other constituencies are also waiting for vacant seats to be filled - Waterford, Dublin South, and Donegal North East - after Fianna Fail TD Jim McDaid quit the Dail yesterday.

Dr McDaid said a general election should have been called before the December Budget.

Sinn Fein has accused Fianna Fail of running scared of voters and wasting taxpayers money in its attempts to prevent the Donegal South West by-election.

The constituency was left a TD short after Pat Gallagher won a seat in Europe in June last year.

The ruling comes as a huge embarrassment to the government, which is already facing severe credibility issues over its attempts to frame a budget.

Sinn Fein have already filed a motion to now move the writ for the by-election.

It remains unclear if the government will now finally set an election date or will attempt to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

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