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Constitution of Ireland (1937, rev. 2012)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

2


3Preamble

4In 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,

5We, the people of Éire,

6Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,

7Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,

8And 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,

9Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

10THE NATION

11ARTICLE 1

12The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.

13ARTICLE 2

14It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.

15ARTICLE 3

161. It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island. Until then, the laws enacted by the Parliament established by this Constitution shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws enacted by the Parliament that existed immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.

172. Institutions with executive powers and functions that are shared between those jurisdictions may be established by their respective responsible authorities for stated purposes and may exercise powers and functions in respect of all or any part of the island.

18THE STATE

19ARTICLE 4

20The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.

21ARTICLE 5

22Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state.

23ARTICLE 6

241. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.

252. These powers of government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of State established by this Constitution.

26ARTICLE 7

27The national flag is the tricolour of green, white and orange.

28ARTICLE 8

291. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.

302. The English language is recognised as a second official language.

313. Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in any part thereof.

32ARTICLE 9

331. 1°. On the coming into operation of this Constitution any person who was a citizen of Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be a citizen of Ireland.

342°. The future acquisition and loss of Irish nationality and citizenship shall be determined in accordance with law.

353°. No person may be excluded from Irish nationality and citizenship by reason of the sex of such person.

362. 1°. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, a person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, who does not have, at the time of the birth of that person, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless provided for by law.

372°. This section shall not apply to persons born before the date of the enactment of this section,

383. Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens.

39ARTICLE 10

401. All natural resources, including the air and all forms of potential energy, within the jurisdiction of the Parliament and Government established by this Constitution and all royalties and franchises within that jurisdiction belong to the State subject to all estates and interests therein for the time being lawfully vested in any person or body.

412. All land and all mines, minerals and waters which belonged to Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution belong to the State to the same extent as they then belonged to Saorstát Éireann.

423. Provision may be made by law for the management of the property which belongs to the State by virtue of this Article and for the control of the alienation, whether temporary or permanent, of that property.

434. Provision may also be made by law for the management of land, mines, minerals and waters acquired by the State after the coming into operation of this Constitution and for the control of the alienation, whether temporary or permanent, of the land, mines, minerals and waters so acquired.

44ARTICLE 11

45All revenues of the State from whatever source arising shall, subject to such exception as may be provided by law, form one fund, and shall be appropriated for the purposes and in the manner and subject to the charges and liabilities determined and imposed by law.

46THE PRESIDENT

47ARTICLE 12

481. There shall be a President of Ireland (Uachtarán na hÉireann), hereinafter called the President, who shall take precedence over all other persons in the State and who shall exercise and perform the powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution and by law.

492. 1°. The President shall be elected by direct vote of the people.

502°. Every citizen who has the right to vote at an election for members of Dáil Éireann shall have the right to vote at an election for President.

513°. The voting shall be by secret ballot and on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

523. 1°. The President shall hold office for seven years from the date upon which he enters upon his office, unless before the expiration of that period he dies, or resigns, or is removed from office, or becomes permanently incapacitated, such incapacity being established to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court consisting of not less than five judges.

532°. A person who holds, or who has held, office as President, shall be eligible for re-election to that office once, but only once.

543°. An election for the office of President shall be held not later than, and not earlier than the sixtieth day before, the date of the expiration of the term of office of every President, but in the event of the removal from office of the President or of his death, resignation, or permanent incapacity established as aforesaid (whether occurring before or after he enters upon his office), an election for the office of President shall be held within sixty days after such event.

554. 1°. Every citizen who has reached his thirty-fifth year of age is eligible for election to the office of President.

562°. Every candidate for election, not a former or retiring President, must be nominated either by:

57 i.not less than twenty persons, each of whom is at the time a member of one of the Houses of the Oireachtas, or

58 ii.by the Councils of not less than four administrative Counties (including County Boroughs) as defined by law.

593°. No person and no such Council shall be entitled to subscribe to the nomination of more than one candidate in respect of the same election.

604°. Former or retiring Presidents may become candidates on their own nomination.

615°. Where only one candidate is nominated for the office of President it shall not be necessary to proceed to a ballot for his election.

625. Subject to the provisions of this Article, elections for the office of President shall be regulated by law.

636. 1°. The President shall not be a member of either House of the Oireachtas.

642°. If a member of either House of the Oireachtas be elected President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House.

653°. The President shall not hold any other office or position of emolument.

667. The first President shall enter upon his office as soon as may be after his election, and every subsequent President shall enter upon his office on the day following the expiration of the term of office of his predecessor or as soon as may be thereafter or, in the event of his predecessor's removal from office, death, resignation, or permanent incapacity established as provided by section 3 hereof, as soon as may be after the election.

678. The President shall enter upon his office by taking and subscribing publicly, in the presence of members of both Houses of the Oireachtas, of Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court, and other public personages, the following declaration:

68"In the presence of Almighty God I , do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me."

699. The President shall not leave the State during his term of office save with the consent of the Government.

7010. 1°. The President may be impeached for stated misbehaviour.

712°. The charge shall be preferred by either of the Houses of the Oireachtas, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of this section.

723°. A proposal to either House of the Oireachtas to prefer a charge against the President under this section shall not be entertained unless upon a notice of motion in writing signed by not less than thirty members of that House.

734°. No such proposal shall be adopted by either of the Houses of the Oireachtas save upon a resolution of that House supported by not less than two-thirds of the total membership thereof.

745°. When a charge has been preferred by either House of the Oireachtas, the other House shall investigate the charge, or cause the charge to be investigated.

756°. The President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at the investigation of the charge.

767°. If, as a result of the investigation, a resolution be passed supported by not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House of the Oireachtas by which the charge was investigated, or caused to be investigated, declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained and that the misbehaviour, the subject of the charge, was such as to render him unfit to continue in office, such resolution shall operate to remove the President from his office.

7711. 1°. The President shall have an official residence in or near the City of Dublin.

782°. The President shall receive such emoluments and allowances as may be determined by law.

793°. The emoluments and allowances of the President shall not be diminished during his term of office.

80ARTICLE 13

811. 1°. The President shall, on the nomination of Dáil Éireann, appoint the Taoiseach, that is, the head of the Government or Prime Minister.

822°. The President shall, on the nomination of the Taoiseach with the previous approval of Dáil Éireann, appoint the other members of the Government.

833°. The President shall, on the advice of the Taoiseach, accept the resignation or terminate the appointment of any member of the Government.

842. 1°. Dáil Éireann shall be summoned and dissolved by the President on the advice of the Taoiseach.

852°. The President may in his absolute discretion refuse to dissolve Dáil Éireann on the advice of a Taoiseach who has ceased to retain the support of a majority in Dáil Éireann.

863°. The President may at any time, after consultation with the Council of State, convene a meeting of either or both of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

873. 1°. Every Bill passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas shall require the signature of the President for its enactment into law.

882°. The President shall promulgate every law made by the Oireachtas.

894. The supreme command of the Defence Forces is hereby vested in the President.

905. 1°. The exercise of the supreme command of the Defence Forces shall be regulated by law.

912°. All commissioned officers of the Defence Forces shall hold their commissions from the President.

926. The right of pardon and the power to commute or remit punishment imposed by any court exercising criminal jurisdiction are hereby vested in the President, but such power of commutation or remission may also be conferred by law on other authorities.

937. 1°. The President may, after consultation with the Council of State, communicate with the Houses of the Oireachtas by message or address on any matter of national or public importance.

942°. The President may, after consultation with the Council of State, address a message to the Nation at any time on any such matter.

953°. Every such message or address must, however, have received the approval of the Government.

968. 1°. The President shall not be answerable to either House of the Oireachtas or to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and functions of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of these powers and functions.

972°. The behaviour of the President may, however, be brought under review in either of the Houses of the Oireachtas for the purposes of section 10 of Article 12 of this Constitution, or by any court, tribunal or body appointed or designated by either of the Houses of the Oireachtas for the investigation of a charge under section 10 of the said Article.

989. The powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution shall be exercisable and performable by him only on the advice of the Government, save where it is provided by this Constitution that he shall act in his absolute discretion or after consultation with or in relation to the Council of State, or on the advice or nomination of, or on receipt of any other communication from, any other person or body.

9910. Subject to this Constitution, additional powers and functions may be conferred on the President by law.

10011. No power or function conferred on the President by law shall be exercisable or performable by him save only on the advice of the Government.

101ARTICLE 14

1021. In the event of the absence of the President, or his temporary incapacity, or his permanent incapacity established as provided by section 3 of Article 12 hereof, or in the event of his death, resignation, removal from office, or failure to exercise and perform the powers and functions of his office or any of them, or at any time at which the office of President may be vacant, the powers and functions conferred on the President by or under this Constitution shall be exercised and performed by a Commission constituted as provided in section 2 of this Article.

1032. 1°. The Commission shall consist of the following persons, namely, the Chief Justice, the Chairman of Dáil Éireann (An Ceann Comhairle), and the Chairman of Seanad Éireann.

1042°. The President of the High Court shall act as a member of the Commission in the place of the Chief Justice on any occasion on which the office of Chief Justice is vacant or on which the Chief Justice is unable to act.

1053°. The Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann shall act as a member of the Commission in the place of the Chairman of Dáil Éireann on any occasion on which the office of Chairman of Dáil Éireann is vacant or on which the said Chairman is unable to act.

1064°. The Deputy Chairman of Seanad Éireann shall act as a member of the Commission in the place of the Chairman of Seanad Éireann on any occasion on which the office of Chairman of Seanad Éireann is vacant or on which the said Chairman is unable to act.

1073. The Commission may act by any two of their number and may act notwithstanding a vacancy in their membership.

1084. The Council of State may by a majority of its members make such provision as to them may seem meet for the exercise and performance of the powers and functions conferred on the President by or under this Constitution in any contingency which is not provided for by the foregoing provisions of this Article.

1095. 1°. The provisions of this Constitution which relate to the exercise and performance by the President of the powers and functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution shall subject to the subsequent provisions of this section apply to the exercise and performance of the said powers and functions under this Article.

1102°. In the event of the failure of the President to exercise or perform any power or function which the President is by or under this Constitution required to exercise or perform within a specified time, the said power or function shall be exercised or performed under this Article, as soon as may be after the expiration of the time so specified.

111THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT

112CONSTITUTION AND POWERS

113ARTICLE 15

1141. 1°. The National Parliament shall be called and known, and is in this Constitution generally referred to, as the Oireachtas.

1152°. The Oireachtas shall consist of the President and two Houses, viz.: a House of Representatives to be called Dáil Éireann and a Senate to be called Seanad Éireann.

1163°. The Houses of the Oireachtas shall sit in or near the City of Dublin or in such other place as they may from time to time determine.

1172. 1°. The sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is hereby vested in the Oireachtas: no other legislative authority has power to make laws for the State.

1182°. Provision may however be made by law for the creation or recognition of subordinate legislatures and for the powers and functions of these legislatures.

1193. 1°. The Oireachtas may provide for the establishment or recognition of functional or vocational councils representing branches of the social and economic life of the people.

1202°. A law establishing or recognising any such council shall determine its rights, powers and duties, and its relation to the Oireachtas and to the Government.

1214. 1°. The Oireachtas shall not enact any law which is in any respect repugnant to this Constitution or any provision thereof.

1222°. Every law enacted by the Oireachtas which is in any respect repugnant to this Constitution or to any provision thereof, shall, but to the extent only of such repugnancy, be invalid.

1235. 1°. The Oireachtas shall not declare acts to be infringements of the law which were not so at the date of their commission.

1242°. The Oireachtas shall not enact any law providing for the imposition of the death penalty.

1256. 1°. The right to raise and maintain military or armed forces is vested exclusively in the Oireachtas.

1262°. No military or armed force, other than a military or armed force raised and maintained by the Oireachtas, shall be raised or maintained for any purpose whatsoever.

1277. The Oireachtas shall hold at least one session every year.

1288. 1°. Sittings of each House of the Oireachtas shall be public.

1292°. In cases of special emergency, however, either House may hold a private sitting with the assent of two-thirds of the members present.

1309. 1°. Each House of the Oireachtas shall elect from its members its own Chairman and Deputy Chairman, and shall prescribe their powers and duties.

1312°. The remuneration of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of each House shall be determined by law.

13210. Each House shall make its own rules and standing orders, with power to attach penalties for their infringement, and shall have power to ensure freedom of debate, to protect its official documents and the private papers of its members, and to protect itself and its members against any person or persons interfering with, molesting or attempting to corrupt its members in the exercise of their duties.

13311. 1°. All questions in each House shall, save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting other than the Chairman or presiding member.

1342°. The Chairman or presiding member shall have and exercise a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.

1353°. The number of members necessary to constitute a meeting of either House for the exercise of its powers shall be determined by its standing orders.

13612. All official reports and publications of the Oireachtas or of either House thereof and utterances made in either House wherever published shall be privileged.

13713. The members of each House of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason as defined in this Constitution, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of, either House, and shall not, in respect of any utterance in either House, be amenable to any court or any authority other than the House itself.

13814. No person may be at the same time a member of both Houses of the Oireachtas, and, if any person who is already a member of either House becomes a member of the other House, he shall forthwith be deemed to have vacated his first seat.

13915. The Oireachtas may make provision by law for the payment of allowances to the members of each House thereof in respect of their duties as public representatives and for the grant to them of free travelling and such other facilities (if any) in connection with those duties as the Oireachtas may determine.

140DÁIL ÉIREANN

141ARTICLE 16

1421. 1°. Every citizen without distinction of sex who has reached the age of twenty-one years, and who is not placed under disability or incapacity by this Constitution or by law, shall be eligible for membership of Dáil Éireann.

1432°. i. All citizens, and

144ii. such other persons in the State as may be determined by law,

145without distinction of sex who have reached the age of eighteen years who are not disqualified by law and comply with the provisions of the law relating to the election of members of Dáil Éireann, shall have the right to vote at an election for members of Dáil Éireann.

1463°. No law shall be enacted placing any citizen under disability or incapacity for membership of Dáil Éireann on the ground of sex or disqualifying any citizen or other person from voting at an election for members of Dáil Éireann on that ground.

1474°. No voter may exercise more than one vote at an election for Dáil Éireann, and the voting shall be by secret ballot.

1482. 1°. Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent constituencies determined by law.

1492°. The number of members shall from time to time be fixed by law, but the total number of members of Dáil Éireann shall not be fixed at less than one member for each thirty thousand of the population, or at more than one member for each twenty thousand of the population.

1503°. The ratio between the number of members to be elected at any time for each constituency and the population of each constituency, as ascertained at the last preceding census, shall, so far as it is practicable, be the same throughout the country.

1514°. The Oireachtas shall revise the constituencies at least once in every twelve years, with due regard to changes in distribution of the population, but any alterations in the constituencies shall not take effect during the life of Dáil Éireann sitting when such revision is made.

1525°. The members shall be elected on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

1536°. No law shall be enacted whereby the number of members to be returned for any constituency shall be less than three.

1543. 1°. Dáil Éireann shall be summoned and dissolved as provided by section 2 of Article 13 of this Constitution.

1552°. A general election for members of Dáil Éireann shall take place not later than thirty days after a dissolution of Dáil Éireann.

1564. 1°. Polling at every general election for Dáil Éireann shall as far as practicable take place on the same day throughout the country.

1572°. Dáil Éireann shall meet within thirty days from that polling day.

1585. The same Dáil Éireann shall not continue for a longer period than seven years from the date of its first meeting: a shorter period may be fixed by law.

1596. Provision shall be made by law to enable the member of Dáil Éireann who is the Chairman immediately before a dissolution of Dáil Éireann to be deemed without any actual election to be elected a member of Dáil Éireann at the ensuing general election.

1607. Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Article, elections for membership of Dáil Éireann, including the filling of casual vacancies, shall be regulated in accordance with law.

161ARTICLE 17

1621. 1°. As soon as possible after the presentation to Dáil Éireann under Article 28 of this Constitution of the Estimates of receipts and the Estimates of expenditure of the State for any financial year, Dáil Éireann shall consider such Estimates.

1632°. Save in so far as may be provided by specific enactment in each case, the legislation required to give effect to the Financial Resolutions of each year shall be enacted within that year.

1642. Dáil Éireann shall not pass any vote or resolution, and no law shall be enacted, for the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys unless the purpose of the appropriation shall have been recommended to Dáil Éireann by a message from the Government signed by the Taoiseach.

165SEANAD ÉIREANN

166ARTICLE 18

1671. Seanad Éireann shall be composed of sixty members, of whom eleven shall be nominated members and forty-nine shall be elected members.

1682. A person to be eligible for membership of Seanad Éireann must be eligible to become a member of Dáil Éireann.

1693. The nominated members of Seanad Éireann shall be nominated, with their prior consent, by the Taoiseach who is appointed next after the reassembly of Dáil Éireann following the dissolution thereof which occasions the nomination of the said members.

1704. 1°. The elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be elected as follows:

171 i.Three shall be elected by the National University of Ireland.

172 ii.Three shall be elected by the University of Dublin.

173 iii.Forty-three shall be elected from panels of candidates constituted as hereinafter provided.

1742°. Provision may be made by law for the election, on a franchise and in the manner to be provided by law, by one or more of the following institutions, namely:

175 i.the universities mentioned in subsection 1° of this section,

176 ii.any other institutions of higher education in the State,

177of so many members of Seanad Éireann as may be fixed by law in substitution for an equal number of the members to be elected pursuant to paragraphs i and ii of the said subsection 1°.

178A member or members of Seanad Éireann may be elected under this subsection by institutions grouped together or by a single institution.

1793°. Nothing in this Article shall be invoked to prohibit the dissolution by law of a university mentioned in subsection 1° of this section.

1805. Every election of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be held on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and by secret postal ballot.

1816. The members of Seanad Éireann to be elected by the Universities shall be elected on a franchise and in the manner to be provided by law.

1827. 1°. Before each general election of the members of Seanad Éireann to be elected from panels of candidates, five panels of candidates shall be formed in the manner provided by law containing respectively the names of persons having knowledge and practical experience of the following interests and services, namely:

183 i.National Language and Culture, Literature, Art, Education and such professional interests as may be defined by law for the purpose of this panel;

184 ii.Agriculture and allied interests, and Fisheries;

185 iii.Labour, whether organised or unorganised;

186 iv.Industry and Commerce, including banking, finance, accountancy, engineering and architecture;

187 v.Public Administration and social services, including voluntary social activities.

1882°. Not more than eleven and, subject to the provisions of Article 19 hereof, not less than five members of Seanad Éireann shall be elected from any one panel.

1898. A general election for Seanad Éireann shall take place not later than ninety days after a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, and the first meeting of Seanad Éireann after the general election shall take place on a day to be fixed by the President on the advice of the Taoiseach.

1909. Every member of Seanad Éireann shall, unless he previously dies, resigns, or becomes disqualified, continue to hold office until the day before the polling day of the general election for Seanad Éireann next held after his election or nomination.

19110. 1°. Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Article elections of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be regulated by law.

1922°. Casual vacancies in the number of the nominated members of Seanad Éireann shall be filled by nomination by the Taoiseach with the prior consent of persons so nominated.

1933°. Casual vacancies in the number of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be filled in the manner provided by law.

194ARTICLE 19

195Provision may be made by law for the direct election by any functional or vocational group or association or council of so many members of Seanad Éireann as may be fixed by such law in substitution for an equal number of the members to be elected from the corresponding panels of candidates constituted under Article 18 of this Constitution.

196LEGISLATION

197ARTICLE 20

1981. Every Bill initiated in and passed by Dáil Éireann shall be sent to Seanad Éireann and may, unless it be a Money Bill, be amended in Seanad Éireann and Dáil Éireann shall consider any such amendment.

1992. 1°. A Bill other than a Money Bill may be initiated in Seanad Éireann, and if passed by Seanad Éireann, shall be introduced in Dáil Éireann.

2002°. A Bill initiated in Seanad Éireann if amended in Dáil Éireann shall be considered as a Bill initiated in Dáil Éireann.

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  • Theoretical/Philosophical
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