Green Party fails in legal challenge to RTÉ

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan

The Green Party has lost its legal challenge against public broadcaster RTÉ over its exclusion from a televised general election debate.

Ms Justice Marie Baker, sitting in the High Court in Dublin, said the criteria used to determine who should participate was not unfair or irrational or disproportionate.

Lawyers for the Green Party argued that its exclusion was a breach of the Constitution and the Broadcasting Act 2009. However, the allegations were rejected after a two-day hearing.

Ms Justice Baker said: “I consider that the criteria adopted for participation in the debates are sufficiently reasonable and impartial and that they are proportionate to the needs of the political debate and the right of the public to be informed and educated in an engaging live programme.”

Following the ruling, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “We thank both legal teams for arguing the case in a respectful manner and appreciated the concluding comments of Judge Baker where she acknowledged that:

“’RTÉ accepts that the editorial criteria that it has adopted for this election are not perfect, and it is not suggested that they would be suitable in another electoral context.’ and that: ‘fundamental and core democratic ideals are in play in the present case.’

“We are disappointed that despite such reservations she deemed that the criteria being used were sufficiently reasonable for the courts not to interfere in the matter.

“We will now redouble our efforts in the remaining days of the campaign to get our message heard.”

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