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Encyclopedia > Constitution of Ireland
Republic of Ireland

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ireland
Image File history File links COA_of_Ireland. ... Politics of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ...








See also An amendment may be made to any part of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, but only by referendum. ... The Oireachtas is the National Parliament of the Republic of Ireland. ... The Seanad Chamber The Seanad meets in the former picture gallery in Leinster House. ... Cathaoirleach (pronounced, ka-here-loch) is the title of the speaker of the sixty-member Irish upper house, Seanad Éireann (pronounced sch-anad air-inn). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... This article is about the current Irish body. ... The Ceann Comhairle1 is the chairman or speaker of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament) of the Republic of Ireland. ... John ODonoghue (Irish: ; born 28 May 1956 in Caherciveen, County Kerry) is a senior Irish Fianna Fáil politician and is the current Ceann Comhairle (speaker) of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas and a Teachta Dála for Kerry South. ... -1... Mary Patricia McAleese (Irish: [1]; born 27 June 1951) is the eighth, and current, President of Ireland. ... The Council of State (Irish: Comhairle Stáit) is an organ established by the Constitution of Ireland to advise the President of Ireland in the exercise of many of his or her discretionary, reserve powers. ... The Presidential Commission (Irish: Coimisiún Uachtarán) is the collective vice-presidency of the Republic of Ireland. ... The Taoiseach (IPA: or ) — plural: Taoisigh ( or ), also referred to as An Taoiseach[1], is the head of government of Ireland or prime minister. ... Patrick Bartholomew Bertie Ahern (Irish: ; born 12 September 1951) is an Irish politician who, since 26 June 1997, has served as the tenth Taoiseach. ... The Tánaiste (IPA: ; plural Tánaistí ), or, more formally, An Tánaiste[1], is the deputy prime minister of the Republic of Ireland. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Irish Government contains a number of departments or ministries, known in the Republic of Ireland as a Department of State (Roinn Stáit in Irish). ... A Minister of State, in the Republic of Ireland, is a junior minister of non-cabinet rank, attached to one or more Departments of State of the cabinet. ... The Opposition Front Bench in the Republic of Ireland is a group of senior parliamentary opposition Teachtaí Dála who together under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition form an alternative cabinet to the governments. ... The Leader of the Opposition (Ir Ceannaire an Fhreasúra) in the Republic of Ireland is the politician who, at least in theory, leads the Parliamentary Opposition bloc in the lower house of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann. ... Enda Kenny (Irish: ; born 24 April 1951), an Irish politician, is the 10th leader of the Fine Gael party and Leader of the Opposition in Dáil Éireann. ... The civil service (an stát-sheirbhís in Irish) of the Republic of Ireland consists of two broad components, the Civil Service of the Government and the Civil Service of the State. ... Local government in the Republic of Ireland is governed by the Local Government Acts, the most recent of which (Local Government Act 2001) established a two-tier structure of local government. ... The courts system in the Republic of Ireland consists of the Supreme Court, the High Court and a number of lower courts. ... The Four Courts in Dublin. ... Chief Justice John L. Murray is the current Chief Justice of Ireland. ... The High Court (Irish: An Ard-Chúirt) of the Republic of Ireland is a court which deals at first instance with the most serious and important civil and criminal cases, and also acts as a court of appeal for civil cases in the Circuit Court. ... The Court of Criminal Appeal (Irish: An Chúirt Achomhaire Choiriúil) of Ireland hears appeals of indictable offences tried in the Circuit Court, the Central Criminal Court and the Special Criminal Court. ... The Special Criminal Court is a juryless criminal court in the Republic of Ireland which tries terrorist and organized crime cases. ... The Circuit Court (An Chúirt Chuarda in Irish) of Ireland consists of a President and thirty-three judges. ... The District Court (An Chúirt Dúiche in Irish) of Ireland consists of a President and fifty-four judges. ... The Republic of Ireland elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. ... The date for Irelands presidential election was set for 22 October 2004. ... The European Parliament Election, 2004 was the Republic of Ireland component of the European Parliament Election, 2004. ... The Irish general election of 2007 took place on 24 May 2007 after the dissolution of the 29th Dáil by the President on 29 April 2007, at the request of the Taoiseach. ... The lower house of the Irish parliament, Dáil Éireann, currently contains 166 Teachtaí Dála (TDs), representing 42 parliamentary constituencies throughout the Republic of Ireland. ... This is an incomplete list of Irish by-elections, with the names of the incumbent and victor and their respective parties. ... There are a number of political parties in the Republic of Ireland, and coalition governments are common. ... This is an incomplete list of public-representative office-holders, elected and appointed, past and present, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. ... For much of its history, the island of Ireland was divided into 32 counties (Irish language contae or condae, pronounced IPA: ). Two historical counties, County Desmond and County Coleraine, no longer exist. ... The European Union or EU is a supranational and international organization of 27 member states. ... The Republic of Ireland is involved in a number of outstanding international disputes. ...


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The Constitution of Ireland (Irish: Bunreacht na hÉireann)[1] is the founding legal document of the state known today both as Ireland and as the Republic of Ireland. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy, and guarantees certain fundamental rights. The constitution was adopted in 1937 by referendum, and may only be amended in the same manner. It is also widely referred to in English by its Irish title, Bunreacht na hÉireann. Northern Ireland is an administrative region and one of four parts of the United Kingdom. ... Information on politics by country is available for every country, including both de jure and de facto independent states, inhabited dependent territories, as well as areas of special sovereignty. ... Liberal democracy is a form of government. ... Representative democracy is a form of democracy founded on the exercise of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ...

Contents

Historical origins

Background

Copies of the constitution are published by the Government Publications Office. They are available for purchase there or in most large bookshops
Copies of the constitution are published by the Government Publications Office. They are available for purchase there or in most large bookshops

The Constitution of Ireland replaced the Constitution of the Irish Free State which had been in effect since the independence of southern Ireland from the United Kingdom in 1922. There were two main motivations for replacing the old constitution in 1937. Firstly, the old constitution was, in the eyes of many, indelibly associated with the controversial Anglo-Irish Treaty. Those opposed to the treaty initially boycotted the institutions of the new Irish Free State but in 1932 were elected into power as the Fianna Fáil party. Since 1922 many of the provisions of the Free State constitution demanded by the Anglo-Irish Treaty had been dismantled piece by piece under the doctrine of "constitutional autochthony" or legal nationalism. So, for example, amendments had removed references to the Oath of Allegiance, appeals to the Privy Council, the British Crown, and the Governor General. Nevertheless, the Fianna Fáil government, led by Éamon de Valera, still believed it desirable that a new, entirely native constitution replace one that they saw as being imposed by the British government. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the constitution of the independent Irish state established in December 1922. ... Year 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar). ... Signature page of the Anglo-Irish Treaty The Anglo-Irish Treaty, officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and representatives of the extra-judicial Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of Independence. ... Territory of the Irish Free State Capital Dublin Language(s) Irish, English Government Constitutional monarchy Monarch  - 1922–1936 George V  - 1936–1936 George VI President of the Executive Council  - 1922–1932 W.T. Cosgrave  - 1932–1937 Eamon de Valera Legislature Oireachtas  - Upper house Seanad Éireann  - Lower house Dáil Éireann... Fianna Fáil - The Republican Party (Irish: ), commonly referred to as Fianna Fáil (IPA ; traditionally translated by the party into English as Soldiers of Destiny, though the actual meaning is Soldiers [Fianna] of Ireland[1]), is currently the largest political party in Ireland with 55,000 members. ... The Irish Oath of Allegiance was a controversial provision in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which Irish TDs (members of the Irish parliament) and Senators were required to take, in order to take their seats in Dáil Éireann (The Chamber of Deputies) and Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate). ... Her Majestys Most Honourable Privy Council is a body of advisors to the British Sovereign. ... The British monarch or Sovereign is the monarch and head of state of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, and is the source of all executive, judicial and (as the Queen_in_Parliament) legislative power. ... The Governor-General (Irish: Seanascal) was the representative of the King in the 1922–1937 Irish Free State. ... Éamon de Valera (born with the name Edward George de Valera,IPA: [1][2]) (14 October 1882 – 29 August 1975) was one of the dominant political figures in 20th century Ireland. ...


The second motive for replacing the old constitution was that since its adoption it had been subjected to a great many, often rather ad hoc amendments. After 1922 the government of the Free State regularly exploited a provision of the constitution that allowed it to be amended by a simple act of parliament. Sometimes a normal act of parliament would contain within it a blanket provision stating that, if it were found to be incompatible with the constitution, the act should be interpreted as an implicit amendment to it. For these reasons, as well, many saw it as desirable that the old constitution be abandoned entirely, in favour of a clean slate.


Drafting process

The constitution was the work of Éamon de Valera, President of the Executive Council (prime minister) of the Irish Free State. It was actually drafted in two languages, Irish and English: in Irish by Micheál Ó Gríobhtha (assisted by Risteárd Ó Foghludha), who worked in the Irish Department of Education, and in English by John Hearne, legal adviser to the Department of External Affairs (now called the Department of Foreign Affairs). De Valera served as his own External Affairs Minister, hence the use of the Department's Legal Advisor, with whom he had previously worked closely, as opposed to the Attorney-General or someone from the Department of the President of the Executive Council. The President of the Executive Council (Irish: Uachtaráin na hArd-Chomhairle) was the head of government or prime minister of the 1922-1937 Irish Free State, and the leader of the Executive Council (cabinet). ... Territory of the Irish Free State Capital Dublin Language(s) Irish, English Government Constitutional monarchy Monarch  - 1922–1936 George V  - 1936–1936 George VI President of the Executive Council  - 1922–1932 W.T. Cosgrave  - 1932–1937 Eamon de Valera Legislature Oireachtas  - Upper house Seanad Éireann  - Lower house Dáil Éireann... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Minister for Foreign Affairs is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs (An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha) in the Irish Government. ...


Though many have presumed that the constitution was drafted in English and merely translated into Irish, in effect it was written in both languages almost simultaneously, with each co-author borrowing from the other's work. The result is that at a number of points the texts clash. In the event of such a clash, the Irish language, though paradoxically the less well worded legally given that its author was not a lawyer, takes precedence.


Though controversial, de Valera's work has received international praise[citation needed]. Notwithstanding its actual contents, it is widely seen as a model constitution because of its clear legal language, order and structure[citation needed]. It has often been compared to the 1958 Constitution of the French Fifth Republic, which is generally seen by political scientists as inferior in terms of clarity and structure[citation needed]. The constitution has been studied worldwide, for example in Nehru's India and Mandela's South Africa[citation needed]. Its office of President of Ireland was one of six studied closely by Australia's Republic Advisory Committee as Australia considered becoming a republic. The Constitution is currently being reviewed by the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Republic Advisory Committee was a committee established by the then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating in May 1993 to examine the constitutional and legal issues that would arise were Australia to become a republic. ...


Enactment

The constitution was passed by Dáil Éireann (then the sole house of parliament) on 14 June and then approved narrowly in a plebiscite of voters on 1 July 1937. It came into force on 29 December 1937. Among the groups who opposed the constitution were supporters of the Fine Gael and Labour opposition parties, Unionists, supporters of the Commonwealth and women. Its main support came from Fianna Fáil supporters and republicans. The question put to voters was simply "Do you approve of the Draft Constitution which is the subject of this plebiscite?". This article is about the current Irish body. ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Fine Gael (IPA: , though often anglicised to ) (approximate English translation: Family or Tribe of the Irish) and officially, Fine Gael - The United Ireland Party, is the second largest political party in the Republic of Ireland, presently forming the largest opposition party in the Dail (Irish Parliament), and claims a membership... Logo of the Irish Labour Party The Irish Labour Party (Irish: Páirti an Lucht Oibre) is the third largest political party in the Republic of Ireland. ... In the Irish context, Unionists form a group of largely (though not exclusively) Protestant people in Ireland, of all social classes, who wish to see the continuation of the Act of Union, as amended by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, under which the Northern Ireland provincial state created in... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...

Electorate Spoilt votes (%) Total poll (%) For (%) Against (%)
1,775,055 134,157 (10) 1,346,207 (75.8) 685,105 (56.5) 526,945 (43.5)

Legal continuity

Main article: Legality of the enactment of the Constitution of Ireland The ballot paper for the plebiscite by which the modern Constitution of Ireland was enacted in 1937. ...


At the time the constitution was adopted there was uncertainty as to whether its enactment amounted to a 'legal' amendment of the Free State constitution or a violation of its terms. If the enactment of the constitution were considered to be illegal in this way it could be considered an act of peaceful revolution. De Valera's government insisted that, owing to the principle of popular sovereignty, provided it was approved by the people in a plebiscite it was not necessary for the new constitution be adopted legally under the terms of the old. Nonetheless, in order to avoid a challenge to the new constitution in the courts, senior judges were required to make a formal declaration that they would uphold the constitution in order to be permitted to remain in office once the constitution had come into force.


Main provisions

The official text of the constitution consists of a Preamble and fifty articles arranged under sixteen headings. Its overall length is approximately 16,000 words. The headings are:

  1. The Nation (1-3)
  2. The State (4-11)
  3. The President (12-14)
  4. The National Parliament (15-27)
  5. The Government (28)
  6. International Relations (29)
  7. The Attorney General (30)
  8. The Council of State (31-32)
  9. The Comptroller and Auditor General (33)
  10. The Courts (34-37)
  11. Trial of Offences (38-39)
  12. Fundamental Rights (40-44)
  13. Directive Principles of Social Policy (45)
  14. Amendment of the Constitution (46)
  15. The Referendum (47)
  16. Repeal of Constitution of Saorstát Éireann and Continuance of Laws (48-50)

The constitution also includes a number of transitional provisions which have, in accordance with their terms, been omitted from all official texts since 1941 . These provisions are still in force but are now mostly spent.-1... The Oireachtas is the National Parliament of the Republic of Ireland. ... The Attorney General (Irish: An Ard-Aighne) is the official adviser to the Irish Government in matters of law. ... The Council of State (Irish: Comhairle Stáit) is an organ established by the Constitution of Ireland to advise the President of Ireland in the exercise of many of her discretionary, reserve powers. ... Comptroller and Auditor General is the title of a government official in a number of nation-states, including the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and India. ... The courts system in the Republic of Ireland consists of the Supreme Court, the High Court and a number of lower courts. ... An amendment may be made to any part of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, but only by referendum. ...


Preamble (full text)

In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

Characteristics of the nation and state

  • National sovereignty: The constitution declares the right of the Irish people to self-determination (Article 1). The state is declared to be sovereign and independent (Article 5).
  • United Ireland: Article 2 states that everyone born on the island of Ireland has the right "to be part of the Irish Nation", and grants citizenship to all such people (if at least one of their parents are Irish). Article 3 declares the will of the Irish people to create a united Ireland, provided this occurs peacefully, and with the consent of the people of Northern Ireland.
  • Name of the state: The constitution declares that the name of the state is "Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland" (Article 4). The term Republic of Ireland has been widely used since the adoption of Republic of Ireland Act 1948 but, so as not to violate the constitution, was at that time declared to be merely the official description of the state.
  • National flag: The national flag is defined as the Irish tricolour (Article 7).
  • Capital city: The Houses of the Oireachtas (parliament) must usually meet in or near Dublin (Article 15), and the President's official residence must be in or near the city (Article 12).
  • Popular sovereignty: It is stated that all powers of government "derive, under God, from the people" (Article 6).

Self-determination is a principle in international law that a people ought to be able to determine their own governmental forms and structure free from outside influence. ... Article 2 and Article 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, were adopted with the constitution as a whole in 1937, but completely revised by means of the Nineteenth Amendment which took full effect in 1999. ... Article 2 and Article 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, were adopted with the constitution as a whole in 1937, but completely revised by means of the Nineteenth Amendment which took full effect in 1999. ... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Map of Éire Éire (pronounced ) is the Irish name for Ireland. ... The Republic of Ireland Act was an enactment of Oireachtas Éireann passed in 1948, which came into force on April 18, 1949[1] and which declared that the official description of the Irish state was to be the Republic of Ireland. ... The National Flag of Ireland (Irish: An Bhratach Náisiúnta), also known as the Irish tricolour, was adopted officially in 1919 by the the state called Ireland (Éire in Irish), sometimes known as the Republic of Ireland. ...

National language

Irish is declared as "the national language" and "the first official language", and English as "a second official language" (Article 8). The State can provide by legislation to use only one of the official languages for a particular official use, or in any part of the State, but to date, no such law has been passed.


The Irish text of the constitution takes precedence over the English text (Articles 25 and 63). However, the second amendment included changes to the Irish text to bring it in line with the English text. In practice the Supreme Court tries to find an interpretation compatible with both versions[citation needed]. The constitution provides for a number of Irish language terms that are to be used even in English. The use of such old Irish terms as Éire as the name of state and Taoiseach for the head of government first appeared in the constitution. The terms Oireachtas, Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann had also featured in the Free State constitution. The Supreme Court (Irish: Chúirt Uachtarach) is the highest judicial authority in the Republic of Ireland. ... The Seanad Chamber The Seanad meets in the former picture gallery in Leinster House. ... The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the constitution of the independent Irish state established in December 1922. ...


Organs of government

Main article: Politics of the Republic of Ireland Politics of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ...


The Constitution establishes a government under a parliamentary system. It provides for a directly elected, ceremonial President of Ireland (Article 12), a head of government called the "Taoiseach" (Article 28) and a national parliament called the "Oireachtas" (Article 15). The Oireachtas has a dominant directly elected lower house known as "Dáil Éireann" (Article 16) and an upper house "Seanad Éireann" (Article 18), which is partly appointed and partly indirectly elected. There is also an independent judiciary headed by the Supreme Court (Article 34). This article does not cite any references or sources. ... -1... The Taoiseach (IPA: or ) — plural: Taoisigh ( or ), also referred to as An Taoiseach[1], is the head of government of Ireland or prime minister. ... The Oireachtas is the National Parliament of the Republic of Ireland. ... This article is about the current Irish body. ... The Seanad Chamber The Seanad meets in the former picture gallery in Leinster House. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      In law, the judiciary or judicial is the system of courts which administer justice in the name of the sovereign or state, a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. ... The Supreme Court (Irish: Chúirt Uachtarach) is the highest judicial authority in the Republic of Ireland. ...


National emergency

Under Article 28, the constitution grants the state sweeping powers during a "time of war or armed rebellion", which may include an armed conflict in which the state is not a direct participant. In such circumstances a "national emergency" may be declared to exist by both houses of the Oireachtas (parliament). During such a period the Oireachtas may pass laws that would otherwise be unconstitutional and the actions of the executive cannot be found to be ultra vires or unconstitutional provided they at least "purport" to be in pursuance of such a law. However, the constitutional prohibition on the death penalty, introduced by an amendment made in 2001, is absolute and applies even during a "time of war". There have been two national emergencies since 1937: an emergency declared in 1940 to cover the threat to national security posed by World War II, and an emergency declared in 1976 to deal with the threat to the security of the state posed by the Provisional IRA. Ultra vires is a Latin phrase that literally means beyond the power. ... The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) is a paramilitary group which aimed, through the use of violence, to achieve three goals: (i) British withdrawal from Ireland, (ii) the political unification of Ireland through the merger of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland , and (iii) the creation of an all...


International relations

  • European Union: Under Article 29 EU law takes precedence over provisions of the constitution in the event of a conflict. The Supreme Court has ruled that any EU treaty that substantially alters the character of the Union must be approved by a constitutional amendment. For this reason separate provisions of Article 29 have permitted the state to ratify the Single European Act, Maastricht Treaty, Amsterdam Treaty and Nice Treaty.
  • International law: Under Article 29 international treaties to which the state is a party are not to be considered part of the domestic law of the state unless the Oireachtas (parliament) decides otherwise. The article also declares that "Ireland accepts the generally recognised principles of international law", but the High Court has ruled that this provision is merely aspirational and is not enforceable in a court of law.

The European Union is unique among international organizations in having a complex and highly developed system of internal law which has direct effect within the legal systems of its member states. ... The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the Treaty of Rome. ... The Maastricht Treaty (formally, the Treaty of European Union, TEU) was signed on February 7, 1992 in Maastricht, Netherlands after final negotiations in December 1991 between the members of the European Community and entered into force on November 1, 1993 during the Delors Commission. ... Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts The Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, commonly known as the Amsterdam Treaty, was signed on... The Treaty of Nice is a treaty adopted in Nice by the European Council to amend the two founding treaties of the European Union: the Treaty on European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, which introduced the Euro and the 3-pillar structure of the EU; the Treaty of Rome, which established...

Individual rights

Under 'Fundamental Rights' title

  • Equality before the law: Guaranteed by Article 40.1.
  • Prohibition on titles of nobility: The state may not confer titles of nobility and no citizen may accept such a title without the permission of the Government (in practice this is usually a mere formality) (Article 40.1).
  • Personal rights: The state is bound to protect "the personal rights of the citizen" and in particular to defend the "life, person, good name and property rights of every citizen" (Article 40.2).
  • Unenumerated Rights: The language used in article 40.3 has been interpreted by the courts as implying the existence of unenumerated rights afforded to Irish citizens under natural law. Such rights upheld by the courts have included the right to marital privacy and the right of the unmarried mother to custody of her child.
  • Prohibition of abortion: Prohibited by Article 40.3, except in cases in which there is a threat to the life of the mother.
  • Habeas Corpus: Guaranteed by Article 40.4. The Defence Forces are exempt from habeas corpus during time of rebellion or war. Since the Sixteenth Amendment it has also been constitutional for a court to deny bail to someone charged with a crime where it suspects they may commit an offence.
  • Inviolability of the home: An officer of the state may not forcibly enter someone's home unless permitted to do so by law (Article 40.5).
  • Freedom of speech: Guaranteed by Article 40.6.1. However, this may not be used to undermine "public order or morality or the authority of the State". Furthermore, the constitution explicitly requires that the publication of "blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter" be a criminal offence.
  • Freedom of assembly: Guaranteed by Article 40.6.1, but only when exercised "peaceably and without arms" and not a "nuisance to the general public".
  • Freedom of association: Article 40.6 protects this right, but states that it may be regulated by the state "in the public interest", provided it is not regulated in a manner which is discriminatory.
  • Family and home life: Under Article 41 the state promises to "protect the family" and its "imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law". Under the same article the state must ensure economic circumstances do not oblige a mother to work outside of the home. The provision also guarantees that in the event of divorce adequate financial provision must be made for any children and for both spouses.
  • Education: Article 42 guarantees parents the right to determine how their children shall be educated, provided a minimum standard is met. Under the same article the state must provide for free primary level education. Currently Irish law also guarantees free second and third level education.
  • Private property: Guaranteed subject to "social justice" and the "common good" (Article 43).
  • Freedom of worship: Guaranteed subject to "public order and morality" (Article 44.2.1).
  • Prohibition of establishment: The state may not endow any religion (Article 44.2.2).
  • Religious discrimination: The state may not discriminate on religious grounds (Article 44.2.3).

The Irish Defence Forces are the army, navy and air force of the Republic of Ireland. ... In common law, habeas corpus (/heɪbiÉ™s kɔɹpÉ™s/) (Latin: [We command that] you have the body) is the name of a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment. ... The Sixteenth Amendment of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, provided that a court could refuse bail to a suspect where it feared that while at liberty they would commit a criminal offence. ... Primary or elementary education is the first years of formal, structured education that occurs during childhood. ... The term, secondary school, refers to an institution where the third stage of schooling, known as secondary education, takes place. ... Students attend a lecture at a tertiary institution. ...

Under other provisions

  • Prohibition of the death penalty: Under an amendment of 2001, the Oireachtas (parliament) may not enact any law allowing for the imposition of the death penalty (Article 15), even during a time of war or armed rebellion (Article 28).
  • Prohibition of ex post facto laws: The Oireachtas may not enact ex post facto criminal laws (Article 15).
  • Trial by jury: A trial for a serious offence must usually be before a jury (Article 38). However, in certain circumstances a trial without a jury may occur before a military tribunal or "special court".
  • Sexual discrimination: The sex of an individual cannot be a reason to deny them the right to nationality and citizenship (Article 9), or to vote for or be a member of Dáil Éireann (Article 16).

Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ... An ex post facto law (from the Latin for from something done afterward) or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed or the legal status of facts and relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. ...

Directive Principles of Social Policy

Article 45 outlines a number of broad principles of social and economic policy. Its provisions are, however, intended solely for the guidance of the legislature and cannot be enforced by a court of law. This Article is the remainder of the metaconstitution that preceded it. In the 21st century, the Directive Principles of Social Policy feature little in parliamentary debates. However, no proposals have been made for their repeal or amendment. They require, in summary, that: Delegates of the Philadelphia Convention. ...

  • Justice and charity must inform national institutions.
  • The free market and private property must be regulated in the interests of the common good.
  • The state must prevent a destructive concentration of essential commodities in the hands of a few.
  • The state should ensure efficiency in private industry and protect the public against economic exploitation.
  • Everyone has the right to an adequate occupation.
  • The state must supplement private industry where necessary.
  • The state must protect the vulnerable, such as orphans and the aged.
  • No one may be forced into an occupation unsuited to their age, sex or strength.

Transitory Provisions

The Transitory Provisions of the Constitution consist of thirteen articles numbering 51 to 63 that provide for a smooth transition from the state's pre-existing institutions to the newly established state. Article 51 provides for the transitional amendment of the constitution by ordinary legislation. The remaining twelve deal with such matters as the transition and reconstitution of the executive and legislature, the continuance of the civil service, the entry into office of the first president, the temporary continuance of the courts, and with the continuance of the attorney general, the comptroller and auditor general, the Defence Forces and the police.


Under their own terms the Transitory Provisions are today omitted from all official texts of the constitution. The provisions required that Article 51 be omitted from 1941 onwards and the remainder from 1938. However, paradoxically, under their own provisions Articles 52 to 63 continue to have the full force of law and so may be considered to remain an integral part of the constitution, even though invisible. This created the anomalous situation that, in 1941, it was deemed necessary, by means of the Second Amendment, to make changes to Article 56 despite the fact that it was no longer a part of the official text. The Second Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, the founding legal document of the Republic of Ireland, was an omnibus amendment to a variety of articles aimed at implementing a list of many different changes. ...


The precise requirements of the Transitory Provisions were that Articles 52 to 63 would be omitted from all texts published after the day on which the first president assumed office (this was Douglas Hyde, who was inaugurated in 1938), and that Article 51 would be omitted from the third anniversary of this inauguration (1941). Unlike the other articles, Article 51 expressly provides that it would cease to have legal effect once it was removed from the document. Douglas Hyde (Irish name Dubhghlas de hÍde) (17 January 1860 - 12 July 1949) was an Irish language scholar who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. ...


Amendments

Main article: Amendments to the Constitution of Ireland An amendment may be made to any part of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, but only by referendum. ...


Any part of the constitution may be amended but only by referendum. The procedure for amendment of the constitution is specified in Article 46. An amendment must first be adopted by both Houses of the Oireachtas (parliament), then be submitted to a referendum and finally comes into effect on being signed into law by the President. The constitution has been amended more than twenty times since its adoption. Controversial amendments have dealt with such topics as abortion, divorce and the European Union. For the record label, see Divorce Records. ...


Judicial review

Main article: Irish Supreme Court The Supreme Court (Irish: Chúirt Uachtarach) is the highest judicial authority in the Republic of Ireland. ...


The constitution states that it is the highest law of the land and grants the Supreme Court authority to interpret its provisions, and to strike down the laws of the Oireachtas and activities of the Government it finds to be unconstitutional. Under judicial review the quite broad meaning of certain articles has come to be explored and expanded upon since 1937. The Supreme Court ruled, prior to their alteration in 1999 , that Articles 2 and 3 did not impose a positive obligation upon the state that could be enforced in a court of law. The reference in Article 41 to the "imprescriptable rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law" of the family has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as conferring upon spouses a broad right to privacy in marital affairs. In the 1974 case of McGee v. The Attorney General the court invoked this right to strike down laws banning the sale of contraceptives. The court has also issued a controversial interpretation of Article 40.3, which prohibits abortion. In the 1992 case of the Attorney General v. X (more commonly known simply as the "X case") the Supreme Court ruled that the state must permit someone to have an abortion where there is a danger to her life from suicide. Judicial review is the power of a court to review a a law or an official act of a government employee or agent for constitutionality or (in some jurisdictions) for the violation of basic principles of justice. ... Attorney General v. ...


Issues of controversy

The "national territory"

Main article: Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland Article 2 and Article 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, were adopted with the constitution as a whole in 1937, but completely revised by means of the Nineteenth Amendment which took full effect in 1999. ...


As adopted in 1937 Articles 2 and 3 of the constitution made the controversial claim that the whole island of Ireland formed a single "national territory". These articles offended Unionists in Northern Ireland who considered them tantamount to an illegal extra-territorial claim. Under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement the state amended Articles 2 and 3 to remove reference to a "national territory" and to state that a united Ireland should only come about with the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland, but also to guarantee the people of Northern Ireland the right to be a "part of the Irish Nation" and to Irish citizenship. In the Irish context, Unionists form a group of largely (though not exclusively) Protestant people in Ireland, of all social classes, who wish to see the continuation of the Act of Union, as amended by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, under which the Northern Ireland provincial state created in... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement and, more rarely, as the Stormont Agreement) was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process. ...


Religion

Main article: Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, the founding legal document of the Republic of Ireland, removed from the constitution a controversial reference to the special position of the Roman Catholic Church as well as recognition of certain other named religious denominations. ...


The Constitution of Ireland, particularly in the form in which it was adopted in 1937, is a mostly secular document as it guarantees freedom of worship and forbids the state from creating an established church, but, even after the overt reference to the Catholic Church as the religion of the majority was removed in 1973 (see below), it still contains a number of explicit religious references, such as in the preamble, the oath sworn by the President and Article 44.1, which reads: 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...

The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.

The constitution has also, since 1983, contained a controversial prohibition of abortion. However, this does not apply in cases where there is a threat to the life of the mother (including from risk of suicide) and may not be used to limit the distribution of information about abortion services in other countries or the right of freedom of travel to procure an abortion.


A number of ideas still found in the constitution reflect the Catholic social teachings current in the 1930s. Such teachings informed the provisions of the (non-binding) Directive Principles of Social Policy and the system of vocational panels used to elect the senate. The constitution also grants very broadly worded rights to the institution of the family.


As adopted in 1937 the constitution included two particular controversial provisions that have since been removed. These were a prohibition of divorce and a reference to the "special position" of the Catholic Church. Article 44, Sections 2 and 3 read:

  • Section 3: The State also recognises the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.

Defenders of the original 1937 text argue that the concept of incorporating Catholic social teaching into law was prevalent in the 1930s, and common to many countries with large Catholic majorities. Divorce, for example was banned in other states such as Italy, which repealed its ban in the 1970s. It is also argued that reference to the Catholic Church's special position was of no legal effect and that there is significance in the fact that the "special position" of Catholicism was held to derive merely from its greater number of adherents, a concept that ran contrary to the Church's view of itself prior to the Second Vatican Council. It is observed that Éamon De Valera resisted pressure from right-wing Catholic groups such as Maria Duce to make Catholicism an established church or to declare it the "one true religion". It is finally argued that the prohibition of divorce was supported by senior members of the Church of Ireland and that the constitution's explicit recognition of the Jewish community was progressive in the climate of the 1930s. Article 44, Sections 2 and 3 were deleted from the constitution in 1973. The ban on divorce was removed in 1996. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Roman Catholic Church... Modern logo of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (or PCI) has a membership of 300,000 people in 650 congregations across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, though the bulk of the membership is in Northern Ireland. ... Grave of an unknown Jewish person in Castletroy, Limerick The history of the Jews in Ireland extends back nearly a thousand years. ... The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI in 1965. ... Maria Duce (Mary, lead [us]) was a small right-wing Roman Catholic group in Ireland founded in 1942 by Fr Denis Fahey C.S.Sp. ... The Church of Ireland (Irish: ) is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion, operating seamlessly across the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ...


Alleged sexism

The constitution guarantees women the right to vote and to nationality and citizenship. However it also contains a provision that was objected to by women's organisations at the time of the its enactment in 1937. Article 41.2 states:

  • Subsection 1: In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
  • Subsection 2: The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

A republic?

Main article: Irish head of state from 1936-1949 During the period of 1936 to 1949 it was unclear whether or not the Irish state was a republic or a form of constitutional monarchy, and whether its head of state was the President of Ireland or the King of Ireland, George VI. The exact constitutional status of the state...


In 1949 the state was officially declared to be a republic. However there is debate as to whether or not the state was a republic in the period of 1937-1949 (between these dates the state was not referred to as the 'Republic of Ireland' but was known only by its constitutional names, Ireland and Éire). The constitution does not mention the word "republic" but does include provisions stating that sovereignty resides in the people, and prohibiting the granting of titles of nobility or the establishment of a church. Map of Éire Éire (pronounced ) is the Irish name for Ireland. ...


Nonetheless, debate largely focuses on the question of whether prior to 1949 the head of state was the President of Ireland or King George VI. The constitution did not mention the king but nor did it state that the President was head of state. The President exercised certain of the usual roles of a head of state, such as appointing the Government and promulgating the law. George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death. ...


However in 1936 George VI was declared "King of Ireland" and, under the External Relations Act of the same year, it was this king who represented the state in its foreign affairs. Treaties, therefore, were signed in the name of the 'King of Ireland', who also accredited ambassadors and received the letters of credence of foreign diplomats. Representing a state abroad is seen by many scholars as the key characteristic of a head of state. This role meant, in any case, that George VI was the Irish head of state in the eyes of foreign nations. In 1949 the Republic of Ireland Act was adopted. This proclaimed a republic and transferred the role of representing the state abroad from George VI to the President. No change was made to the constitution. The designation King of Ireland has been used during three periods of Irish history. ... The Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936 was an enactment of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) in 1936. ... The Republic of Ireland Act was an enactment of Oireachtas Éireann passed in 1948, which came into force on April 18, 1949 and which declared that the official description of Ireland was to be the Republic of Ireland. ...


Name of the state

See also: Names of the Irish state

The constitution provides that the name of the state is simply "Ireland". This is objected to by some as suggesting that Northern Ireland is part of the territory of the state. These objections were reinforced by the fact that, prior to 1999, the constitution actually made this claim. The name Ireland can also cause confusion as to whether one is referring to the Republic or to the island as a whole. For these reasons since 1937 a number of alternative names have come into use, including the 'Republic of Ireland', the 'Irish Republic' and 'Éire'. The Republic of Ireland is enshrined in the Republic of Ireland Act and today is the most common alternative name used in the Republic itself. Éire, the official Irish name of the state since 1937, appears on all Irish euro coins. ...


The constitution provides that Éire is the name of state in Irish. However the wording of Article 4, it states that "Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland", where a more conventional translation of the version of Article 4 found in the Irish text would have been "the name of the State is Ireland, or, in the Irish language, Éire". This unusual wording, combined with the preamble, which refers to "We the people of Éire", suggests that Éire is intended as one of two names that can be used for the state in English speech. Nonetheless today the name Éire (or Eire, without the accent) is only commonly used in this way in the United Kingdom. Because the name is rarely used in the same way in the Republic itself, and because use of the name Éire has sometimes been associated with a condescending attitude towards the state, some Irish people find its use objectionable. In 1989 the Supreme Court found objection to that fact that warrants issued by United Kingdom Courts, which were in English, often contained the name Eire, which the Constitution declares to be the Irish name of the state, directing that in future all such warrants should be returned for correction. Postage stamps currently issued in the Republic of Ireland and Euro coins of all denominations issued on behalf of the Republic of Ireland bear the name ""Eire /Éire" on the face.


Language issue

Some have criticised the constitution for affording the Irish language, as "the first official language", a superior status to English. Under the 1922 constitution Irish and English were afforded equal status. Others, however, maintain that the Irish language, as a unique expression of Irish identity, should be given such a superior status


Lack of recognition for non-traditional family units

See also: Same-sex marriage in Ireland and Civil unions in the Republic of Ireland

Article 41.1.1˚ of the constitution recognises the family as “the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law” and guarantees its protection by the State. However, these rights and protections are not available for every family unit, much to the dismay of many liberals, egalitarians, single parents, unmarried co-habiters, homosexuals and gay rights activists. The institution of marriage enjoys a privileged position in the constitution. A family exclusively based on marriage is envisaged – Article 41.3.1˚ states that “[t]he State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the Family is founded”. The effect is that non-marital unit members are not entitled to any of the encompassed protections, including those under the realms of tax, inheritance and social welfare, granted by Article 41. For example, in State (Nicolaou) v. An Bord Uchtála [1966] IR 567, where an unmarried father, who had become estranged from the mother of his child some months after living and caring for the same child together, was prevented from invoking the provisions of Article 41 to halt the mother’s wishes of putting the child up for adoption. The then Mr. Justice Walsh of the Supreme Court stated that “the family referred to in [Article 41 was] the family which is founded on the institution of marriage”. Ireland does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions and neither is there currently any kind of provision for unmarried cohabiting couples, whether homosexual or heterosexual. ... The Republic of Ireland does not recognize civil unions or same-sex marriages and there is very little provision for unmarried cohabiting couples, whether homosexual or heterosexual. ... In politics, the term liberal refers to: an adherent of the ideology of liberalism or a state or quality of this ideology. ... Egalitarianism is the moral doctrine that equality ought to prevail among some group along some dimension. ... Homosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire exclusively for another of the same sex. ... The gay rights movement is a collection of loosely aligned civil rights groups, human rights groups, support groups and political activists seeking acceptance, tolerance and equality for non-heterosexual, (homosexual, bisexual), and transgender people - despite the fact that it is typically referred to as the gay rights movement, members also... The Four Courts in Dublin. ...


Constitutional Reviews

The constitution has been subjected to a series of formal reviews in the last 40 years.[2]

1966
The then Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, encouraged the establishment of an informal Oireachtas committee, which undertook a general review of the Constitution and issued a report in 1967.
1968 
A draft report was produced by a legal committee, chaired by the Attorney General Colm Condon. No final report was published.
1972 
The Inter-Party Committee on the Implications of Irish Unity addressed constitutional issues in relation to Northern Ireland. Its work was continued by the 1973 All-Party Oireachtas Committee on Irish Relations and later by the 1982 Constitution Review Body, a group of legal experts under the chairmanship of the Attorney General. Neither of the 1972 groups published a report.
1983–1984
The New Ireland Forum was established in 1983 , and its report in 1984 covered some constitutional issues.
1988 
The Progressive Democrats published a review entitled Constitution for a New Republic.
1994–1997 
In October 1994 , the government established a Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, which considered some constitutional issues relating to Northern Ireland. The Forum suspended its work in February 1996 but met once more in December 1997.
1995–1996 
The Constitution Review Group was an expert group established by the government in 1995, and chaired by Dr T.K. Whitaker. Its 700-page report, published in July 1996,[3] has been described as "the most thorough analysis of the Constitution from the legal, political science, administrative, social and economic perspectives ever made".[4]
1996— 
The first All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution was set up in 1996.

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Oireachtas is the National Parliament of the Republic of Ireland. ... 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ... The Attorney General (Irish: An Ard-Aighne) is the official adviser to the Irish Government in matters of law. ... The New Ireland Forum was established in Ireland in 1983 by then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald to discuss ways of bringing peace and stability to the whole of Ireland, and the structures and processes through which this might be achieved. ... The Progressive Democrats (Irish An Páirtí Daonlathach, lit. ... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Year 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar). ... Dr. T.K. Whitaker (b. ...

All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution

First Committee

The first All-Party Committee (1996-97), chaired by Fine Gael TD Jim O'Keeffe, published two progress reports in 1997: Fine Gael (IPA: , though often anglicised to ) (approximate English translation: Family or Tribe of the Irish) and officially, Fine Gael - The United Ireland Party, is the second largest political party in the Republic of Ireland, presently forming the largest opposition party in the Dail (Irish Parliament), and claims a membership... Jim OKeeffe (born March 31, 1941) is an Irish Fine Gael politician. ...

  • 1st Progress Report, 1997[5]
  • 2nd Progress Report, 1997[6]

Second Committee

The Second All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1997–2002) was chaired by Fianna Fáil TD Brian Lenihan, Jnr. It published five progress reports: Fianna Fáil - The Republican Party (Irish: ), commonly referred to as Fianna Fáil (IPA ; traditionally translated by the party into English as Soldiers of Destiny, though the actual meaning is Soldiers [Fianna] of Ireland[1]), is currently the largest political party in Ireland with 55,000 members. ... See also his father, Brian Lenihan Snr Brian Lenihan Jnr. ...

  • 3rd Progress Report: The President, 1998[7]
  • 4th Progress Report: the courts and judiciary, 1999[8]
  • 5th Progress Report: abortion, 2000[9]
  • 6th Progress Report: the referendum, 2001[10]
  • 7th Progress Report: Parliament, 2002[11]

The second committee also published two commissioned works:

  • A new electoral system for Ireland?, by Michael Laver (1998)[12]
  • Bunreacht na hÉireann: a study of the Irish text, by Micheál Ó Cearúil (1999)[13]

Third Committee

The current (2002) committee is chaired by Fianna Fáil TD Denis O'Donovan. It describes its task as being to "complete the programme of constitutional amendments begun by the earlier committees, aimed at renewing the Constitution in all its parts, for implementation over a number of years". It describes the job as "unprecedented", nothing that "no other state with the referendum as its sole mechanism for constitutional change has set itself so ambitious an objective."[14] Fianna Fáil - The Republican Party (Irish: ), commonly referred to as Fianna Fáil (IPA ; traditionally translated by the party into English as Soldiers of Destiny, though the actual meaning is Soldiers [Fianna] of Ireland[1]), is currently the largest political party in Ireland with 55,000 members. ... Denis ODonovan (born 1955) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. ...


The committee has divided its work into considering three types of amendment:

  • technical/editorial: changes in form but not in substance, for example changing 'he' to 'he or she' where it is clear that a provision in the Constitution applies to both men and women.
  • non-contentious: changes in substance generally agreeable to the people, for example describing the President as Head of State.
  • contentious: changes in substance which of their nature divide people, for example changes in the character and scope of human rights.

The current All-Party Committee has published three reports:[15]

  • 8th Progress Report: Government, 2003[16]
  • 9th Progress Report: Private Property, 2004[17]
  • 10th Progress Report: The Family, 2006[18]

The committee summarises its remaining tasks as being to consider:

  • fundamental rights (apart from the right to life and property rights, which have already been considered)
  • Article 45 (Directive Principles of Social Policy)
  • a miscellany ranging from the Preamble, the name of the state, the position of the Irish language, to the transitory provisions.

References

  1. ^ IPA pronunciation: /ˈbunˌraxt nə ˈheːrʲən/.
  2. ^ See All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution: Constitutional Reviews. This section is adapted from this source, under the presumption of fair use of government publications
  3. ^ Constitution Review Group (1996). Report of the Constitution Review Group. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-2440-1. 
  4. ^ See Constitution Review Group
  5. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1997). First progress report. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-3858-5. 
  6. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1997). Second progress report. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-3868-2. 
  7. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1998). Third progress report: The President. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-6161-7. 
  8. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1999). Fourth progress report: the courts and judiciary. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-6297-4. 
  9. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2000). Fifth progress report: abortion. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-9001-3. 
  10. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2001). Sixth progress report: the referendum. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7557-1168-8. 
  11. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2002). Seventh progress report: parliament. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7557-1211-0. 
  12. ^ Laver, Michael; All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1998). A new electoral system for Ireland?. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 1-902585-00-3. 
  13. ^ Ó Cearúil, Micheál; All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (1999). Bunreacht na hÉireann: a study of the Irish text. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7076-6400-4. 
  14. ^ See Work Programme of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution
  15. ^ see Publications of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution
  16. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2003). Eighth progress report: government. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7557-1552-7. 
  17. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2004). Ninth progress report: private property. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7557-1901-8. 
  18. ^ All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (2006). Tenth progress report: private property. Dublin: Stationery Office. ISBN 0-7557-1901-8. 

Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...

See also

Politics of Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ... The state known today as the Republic of Ireland came into being when twenty-six of the counties of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1922. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ireland This page aims to list articles related to the island of Ireland. ...

Further reading

  • Brian Farrell, De Valera's Constitution and Ours
  • Brian Doolan, Constitutional Law and Constitutional Rights in Ireland
  • Jim Duffy, "Overseas studies: Ireland" in An Australian Republic: The Options - The Appendices (Republic Advisory Committee, Vol II, Commonwealth of Australia, 1993) ISBN 0-644-32589-5
  • Michael Forde, Constitutional Law of Ireland
  • John M. Kelly, The Irish Constitution
  • Tim Murphy & Patrick Twomey, Ireland's Evolving Constitution 1937-1997: Collected Essays
  • Micheál Ó Cearúil, Bunreacht na hÉireann: A Study of the Irish Text (published by the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, The Stationery Office, 1999).
  • James Casey, "Constitutional Law in Ireland"
  • Séamas Ó Tuathail, "Gaeilge agus Bunreacht"

John Maurice Kelly (August 31, 1931—January 24, 1991) was a senior Irish politician and academic. ...

Obtaining copies

Paper copies of the constitution are available from the Irish Government Publications Office in Dublin, and from the Irish Government Stationery Office, Molesworth St, Dublin 2. For electronic copies see below.


External links

Constitution of Ireland
Wikisource has several original texts related to:
Constitution of Ireland

  Results from FactBites:
 
Constitution of Ireland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5328 words)
The constitution states that it is the highest law of the land and grants the Supreme Court authority to interpret its provisions, and to strike down the laws of the Oireachtas and activities of the Government it finds to be unconstitutional.
The Constitution of Ireland, particularly in the form in which it was adopted in 1937, has been accused of favouring the Roman Catholic Church and of bias against Protestants.
It is finally argued that the prohibition of divorce was supported by senior members of the Church of Ireland and that the constitution's explicit recognition of the Jewish community was progressive in the climate of the 1930s.
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