The High Court will give its decision tomorrow in the case of a Dublin man who is challenging the spending by Government of €1.1m of public money on an allegedly one-sided information campaign about the Children's Referendum.
Mark McCrystal, from Kilbarrack Road, claims the State has breached a 17-year-old Supreme Court judgment requiring referendums to be explained in a balanced manner to the public, when taxpayers money is being used to fund the communication of the information.
Mr McCrystal has taken issue with the contents of a booklet, produced by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, which is being sent to two million homes, as well as a website and other material.
Over the course of a two-day hearing before High Court President, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, counsel for Mr McCrystal, Richard Humphreys, argued the information being put forward is biased in favour of the proposed amendment, and is therefore contrary to the 1995 Supreme Court judgment in the McKenna case.
He also claimed that the information does not deal adequately with possible difficulties that might arise from the passing of the amendment and the language used is emotive and persuasive.
Mr McCrystal is seeking a declaration that the State is not allowed use taxpayers' money on a website and booklet concerning the proposed amendment.
He is also seeking to restrain further publication of material that would favour one side or another, including further distribution of the booklet, which has already been delivered to 66% of households.
He is also seeking a public statement from the Government saying the material it has already distributed should be disregarded.
In their defence, counsel for the Minister for Children, Ireland, the Government and the Attorney General, against whom the action is being taken, dismissed the notion that the information was biased.
David Hardiman said if accepted, the argument being put forward by the plaintiff created an effective impasse whereby politicians would be incapable of speaking without advocating, and that would be an extraordinary conclusion for any court to come to.
He said such was the plaintiff's depth of scrutiny and dispute of the information concerned, that the court could find itself mired in the substantive issue of the meaning of the proposed amendment itself.
Mr Hardiman said under the McKenna ruling, the test that must be applied to the facts was whether the Government had acted in a manner which had shown clear disregard for the Constitution.
And he argued that in this case the facts did not show that this threshold had been met.
He said contrary to claims by the plaintiff, the authorship and origin of the booklet are clear, a silhouette of children on the front of it could not be construed as prejudicial and much of the wording in the booklet is balanced, as it is taken from either the proposed amendment itself, or a United Nations Convention.
Mr Justice Nicholas is to consider the arguments advanced by both sides overnight, and said he would endeavour to deliver his judgement around 10.30am tomorrow.
It is likely that whatever the outcome, the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.