The High Court in Dublin is expected to be notified by the Irish government today that it will defend a challenge over its refusal to move a writ for a bye election in Donegal South West.
Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty brought the challenge earlier this month and the case is listed for mention this morning.
A Fianna Fáil source was quoted: “The Government will be defending it. It should be a matter for Dáil Éireann and not for the courts.”
Since the election of Pat “the Cope” Gallagher to the European Parliament last year, Donegal has just two representatives in the Dáil – veteran Fine Gael TD Dinny McGinley and current Tanaiste and Education Minister Mary Coughlan.
Senator Doherty is one of those who is expected to be in contention for the vacant seat. He contested the general elections in 2002 and 2007, as well as the European election in 2004.
Fine Gael and Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan have introduced Private Members’ Bills proposing that bye elections be held within six months of vacancies occurring.
Some in Donegal south west claim that because one of its TDs is also the Tanaiste, they are effectively being represented by one person in the Dail, a claim refuted by the government, who say that both Senator Pearse Doherty and Senator Brian O’Domhnaill all adds up to adequate representation in the Oireachtas.