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Thomas Pringle v The Government of Ireland, Ireland and the Attorney General
The European Union is renowned for its Member States' ability to devise flexible workarounds to overcome thorny problems that at first may seem insurmountable. The various crises that enveloped the Member States and the EU itself after 2008 posed existential challenges to the euro currency. Extraordinary measures were adopted in the face of those challenges. One of those measures was the establishment of a new institution to be called the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by means of a treaty outside the EU legal order. The legality of these measures was questioned in the Irish Courts by Independent TD for Donegal South West, Thomas Pringle. The Supreme Court referred three questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Court of Justice rejected the claim that the ESM workaround was of a character that breached the limits of the EU treaties. In doing so it accepted the ultima ratio approach urged on it by the ESM's defenders that in the last resort the Court should not act in a way that would risk imperilling the single currency. This article by Mr Pringle's solicitors examines some procedural and substantive aspects of the case.