Updated: 27/11/17 : 05:41:00
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Sligo man court bid to halt election plan

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

A SLIGO man will seek to stop any immediate general election when he goes to the High Court today,  Monday.

Joe Costello is a former Senator, TD and junior Minister in a coalition government earlier this decade.

He wants the current government to legislate for proposed constituency changes before it can call any election.

The High Court will be asked to make a declaration order to that end.

The court will also hear that TD numbers require to be increased through the new legislation.

Fuller details of Costello’s reasons for today’s court challenge are outlined  by him in the link below.

Census Increase

Costello says that Article 16.2.2 requires the extra TDs to be legislated for in line with the 2016 Census increase.

This change was also recommended in the statutory Constituency Commission Report earlier this year.

Locally, a newly legislated constituency would see Sligo vote with new territory in North Roscommon.

Thirty six electoral districts in west Cavan would be transferred back to that area.

Bu Leitrim and South Donegal would be due to stay with Sligo in any new set-up.

Prisoners Rights

Costello came to national prominence forty years ago when he helped establish the Prisoners Rights Organisation (PRO).

Those prominent in the PRO group include Pat McCartan and Conal Gibbons, both later to become judges.

A native of Geevagh, Co Sligo who schooled at Summerhill College, Costello was Director of Elections for Michael D Higgins when he was elected President of Ireland in 2011.

Sports Fan

Costello held trade and development portfolios as a junior minister under Enda Kenny.

He is a soccer fan, Bohemian, and general sports enthusiast, notably GAA.

His wife Emer also served in the European Parliament for the Dublin area.

As things stand and if an election was approved this week by President Higgins the west Cavan voters would still be in the Sligo area.

Meanwhile the Dáil is due to debate a vote of “No Confidence” in Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald in the next 36 hours.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has threatened to call a Christmas week election if his Government are defeated in the vote.

Other Obstacles

Fine Gael claim they will have held selection conventions in 40 constituencies by Thursday night.

However, apart from today’s High Court challenge, the Taoiseach could face other obstacles to his poll plan.

In certain set of circumstances in the current Dail arithmetic, Michael Martin could be elected Taoiseach without any election.

Link: https://www.labour.ie/news/press/2017/11/26/oireachtas-must-ensure-that-the-membership-of-dail/#.WhsUJd7T2wc.twitter