Europe Update

    EU Court of Justice issues first-ever judgement in Irish on St Patrick’s Day– The EU’s Court of Justice has coincidently issued its first ever judgement in Irish on St Patrick’s Day.

    After almost 50 years in the trading bloc, the court only recently took on its first Irish language case back in January of this year, and has issued a ruling today.

    The case itself also had to do with the Irish language, as a man wished to see dual-language labelling on his dog’s medicine. The medicine’s label was originally only available in English.

    The EU has 24 official languages – of which Irish has had official status since 1973 – and can hear a case in any of those languages.

    This case was originally brought to the High Court in Ireland.

    The Irish court ruled that the Irish state had flouted the EU regulations but, given that from 2022 new EU rules would mean Ireland no longer has to use both languages in such labelling, it asked the court in Luxembourg whether it was worth ordering the use of both languages for just a few months.

    The EU’s Court of Justice ruled that it excluded member states from ignoring current laws on the basis of incoming law changes on the grounds that: “transposition is purportedly disproportionate as it might prove costly or serve no purpose.”

    “The referring court is therefore required to take all the appropriate general and particular measures to ensure that the result prescribed by that directive is attained and, accordingly, to make the declaration requested.”

    Essentially, the medicine should be labelled in both languages, despite new legislation in the future meaning that would no longer be necessary.

    The case, which was heard in Luxembourg, was taken by a man simply identified as UH, who the court described as “an Irish citizen and a native Irish speaker from the Galway Gaeltacht”.

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