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For the first time since Ireland joined the EU in 1973, an Irish language case will be heard in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg
Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the decision made by Judge Ní Raifeartaigh today. Today in the High Court, Judge Úna Ní Raifeartaigh decided to refer to the ECJ the question of whether the court of a member state has the discretion in judicial review cases to refuse relief where the rights in question come from EU law.

The case of Mac Fhlannchadha v. the Minister for Agriculture (heard in the Irish language) relates to the use of EU languages on the labelling of veterinary medicine. Judge Ní Raifeartaigh has held that the State breached an EU Directive which required the labelling to be at least in both Irish and English, because Irish law allows for labelling in English only. Mr Mac Fhlannchadha is represented by Séamas Ó Tuathail AS and Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL instructed by solicitors Ó Cearbhaill & Co., Galway.

This question arises from a clash of legal cultures. In Common Law countries, such as Ireland and England, judges have broad discretionary powers in deciding cases but in the mainland European Civil Law tradition, judges do not.

The question to be decided by the European Court arises because a new EU Regulation, which allows for greater autonomy for member states in choosing the languages used in labelling will come into force in 2022, making Irish language labelling optional for these products. The question facing the High Court and the ECJ is what to do in the meantime.

Den chéad uair ó ghlac Éire ballraíocht san AE in 1973, éistfear cás as Gaeilge i gCúirt Bhreithiúnais an Aontais Eorpaigh in Lucsamburg.
Cuireann Conradh na Gaeilge an-fháilte roimh an cinneadh a rinne an Breitheamh Úna Ní Raifeartaigh inniu. Den chéad uair ó ghlac Éire ballraíocht san AE in 1973, éistfear cás as Gaeilge i gCúirt Bhreithiúnais an Aontais Eorpaigh in Lucsamburg.

Inniu san Ard-Chúirt, chinn an Breitheamh Úna Ní Raifeartaigh ceist a chur chuig an gCúirt Bhreithiúnais maidir le cé acu atá nó nach bhfuil an discréid ag cúirt náisiúnta faoiseamh a dhiúltú sa chás go dtagann na cearta i gceist ó Dhlí an AE.

Baineann an cás Mac Fhlannchadha v. An tAire Talmhaíochta (a éisteadh as Gaeilge) le húsáid teangacha an AE ar lipéadú tháirgí leighis d’ainmhithe. Chinn an Breitheamh Ní Raifeartaigh cheana gur sháraigh Éire Treoir den AE a leag síos gur gá don lipéadú a bheith as Gaeilge agus as Béarla ar a laghad mar gheall go gceadaíonn Dlí na hÉireann lipéadú as Béarla amháin. Rinne Séamas Ó Tuathail AS agus Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL ionadaíocht sa chúirt don Uasal Mac Fhlannchadha, iad faoi theagasc ag Ó Cearbhaill Aturnaetha as Gaillimh.

Éiríonn an cheist seo as coimhlint dhá thraidisiún dlí. Sa Dlí Coiteann atá i réim i dtíortha ar nós na hÉireann agus Sasana, bíonn discréid leathan ag breithiúna agus cinntí a ndéanamh acu; ní bhíonn i dtraidisiún Dlí Shibhialta na Mór-Roinne.

Éiríonn an cheist atá le cinneadh ag Cúirt Bhreithiúnais an Aontais toisc go bhfuil Rialachán nua Eorpach a cheadaíonn tuilleadh saoirse do bhallstáit an Aontais maidir le lipéadú le teacht i bhfeidhm in 2022, agus beidh lipéadú as Gaeilge roghnach do na táirgí seo ina dhiaidh sin. Is í an cheist atá os comhair na hArd-Chúirte agus Cúirt Bhreithiúnais an Aontais Eorpaigh ná cad is ceart a dhéanamh idir an dá linn.

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