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This week’s decision by the European Court of Justice that veterinary medicinal products should be labeled in Ireland in both Irish and English has “limited and temporary benefit”.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the court issued its first judgment in the Irish language. It found that Irish legislation on the labeling and package leaflet of veterinary medicinal products “did not meet the language requirements” set out in Directive 2001/82 / EC and Directive 2001/82 / EC, therefore, in breach of Article 288 TFEU.
The complainant, a native Irish speaker from a Gaeltacht village in County Galway, had lodged a complaint alleging that the information on veterinary medicinal products was only in English and not in both of the official languages of the state, Irish and English.
He speaks Irish at home and at work and conducts all of his official business as a gaeilge to the extent that the resources available to enable him to do so. He has a dog, so he needs veterinary drugs.
“Failure to implement the directive”
In 2016, the complainant sought permission from the High Court to conduct a judicial review of the alleged Minister of Agriculture, Food and the “failure of the Navy to correctly implement the Directive in relation to its language requirements”.
That vacation was granted and the case went to court in the summer of 2018.
The complainant requested relief “due to the failure of the minister and the state to implement the directive”. This relief is a declaration that Irish law must ensure that “appropriate information on relevant leaflets and packaging” is affixed to veterinary medicinal products for products marketed in both Irish and English in terms of font size and clarity is given the same priority.
In 2019 the High Court decided to refer this case to the European Court of Justice.
“Could have serious consequences for animal health”
Despite this week’s ruling, the court found that Regulation 2019/6, due to apply from January 28, 2022, provides for information to be included on the outer packaging, inner packaging and package insert for veterinary medicinal products in Irish or English.
The Tribunal therefore considered that the applicant would “obtain limited and temporary benefit from a change in Irish law to comply with the Directive, while suppliers and distributors of veterinary medicinal products would face difficulties which could have serious consequences animal health and economic and social circumstances in Ireland. ”