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The Constitution also deals with the fundamental personal human rights of each and every Irish Citizen. However, it is important to note that not all rights granted by the Constitution to an Irish citizen are absolute and you will find that rights must often in fact be weighed up against another to see which is the more important in that particular case.
” No law conflicting with our Constitution can be enacted. The Constitution can only be changed by a referendum wherein each Irish citizen over the age of eighteen years is entitled to vote”
Some rights are not actually specified in the Constitution, nonetheless the Courts have recognised that they are protected by the Constitution. Such rights are called the “unenumerated rights”, and have been predominantly decided by case law.
Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with Constitutional cases. Our veteran solicitor Robert Pierse, has almost fifty years experience in this area and he, together with our qualified team of solicitors, have achieved huge success in many recent high profile constitutional cases.
Some of the rights granted by our present Constitution include:
The 1937 Irish Constitution founded the primary institutions of Ireland, which can be identified as the three branches of this country: the legislative authority, the executive authority and the Judicial authority.
Legislative Authority: This branch is responsible for making and altering laws in Ireland. It is delegated to the Oireachtas at Articles 15-27 of the Constitution. The Oireachtas is made up of the President and the two houses: Seanad Eireann and Dail Eireann.
Executive Authority: This branch is responsible for bringing the laws created by the legislature into effect. This executive power is given to the Government, which is made up of the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste and a cabinet of Ministers.
Judicial Authority: This branch, at Articles 34 – 37 of the Constitution, is responsible for the interpretation and application of law by our courts in various disputes between an assortment of parties.
The Constitution further establishes the office of the Attorney General, the Comptroller, Council of the State and the Auditor General.
The 1937 Irish Constitution, at Article 40.4, promises that every Irish Citizen has a right to liberty and freedom. However, as previously mentioned, not all rights granted by the Constitution are absolute and the right to personal liberty is not without qualification. This right to liberty and freedom is limited by legislation providing for your arrest and imprisonment.
If you believe that you are being unlawfully detained and thus, your constitutional right to personal liberty is infringed, the Constitution provides that you may make an application to the High Court. The person or institution allegedly infringing your rights shall bring you before the High Court and be given an opportunity to explain and justify your detention. If the High Court is dissatisfied with the reasons for your detention, it can order your release until such time as it is satisfied that your detention is in accordance with law.
If, however, the Court finds that you are being detained in accordance with the law, but that law conflicts with the provisions of the Constitution, the High Court will refer the question regarding the validity of such law to the Supreme Court. While this case is being decided, you may be released on bail subject to such conditions as the High Court deems necessary.
However, it is important to note that this section cannot be invoked to forbid, control or disturb the acts of the Defence Forces during a war or armed rebelllion. Furthermore, a court may refuse to grant bail to an accused person where it feels it is necessary in order to prevent the commission of a serious offence by that accused person.