The Irish Constitution

The first and most important thing to learn about, when learning ones rights and responsibilities as an Irish Citizen, is to familiarize yourself with the most important document in Ireland’s history: Bunreacht Na hÉireann (The Constitution Of Ireland). A study of the Irish Constitution can be found below, and a brief history of the Irish Constitution follows.

Side By Side Comparison of Texts

A Study of the Irish Consitution

DeValera’s Constitution

A Brief History of the Irish Constitution

Bunreacht na HeireannIt is from this document that every single right and responsibility you have as an Irish Citizen stems. No law can be passed in The Republic of Ireland that conflicts with this document, and no changes can be made to it without a Referendum.

In a plebiscite held on 1 July 1937 the people enacted a new Irish Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, to replace the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State.

Even though the 1922 Irish Constitution had been approved by Dáil Éireann, there continued to exist throughout the country a substantial body of opposition to it owing to its being circumscribed by the terms of the Treaty, its recognition of the British monarch as part of the national legislature and its requirement that members of the Oireachtas swear an oath of faithfulness to that monarch.

Much of the case for a new Constitution was the need to make perfectly clear that the source of authority in Ireland and of the fundamental law of the state is the people of Ireland. Hence the Preamble to Bunreacht na hÉireann says: ‘We, the people of Éire,…do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution’. There was a desire to give the state all the characteristics of a republic (and so all references to the British monarch were removed).

There also seemed to be a desire to strengthen or entrench the rights of the citizen as against the state. It had been possible to amend the Constitution of the Irish Free State by a simple Act of the Oireachtas without recourse to the people in a referendum.

The proposal to adopt Bunreacht na hÉireann was carried by 685,105 votes in favour to 526,945 votes against, a majority of 158,160.

Source: Constitution.ie

Ben Gilroy Interviewed by Newstalk

Logo of Newstalk, who interviewed Ben GilroyBen Gilroy is Interviewed by national radio station, Newstalk. The interview opens with comments by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton that the government was of the opinion that eviction was something that “simply shouldn’t happen. She also stated that the key to this is engagement by the banks in renegotiation’s of commitments, in light of a debtors inability to pay due to the enforced economic downturn. This simply doesn’t happen in many cases, as Ben Gilroy highlights time and time again.

Newstalk Interview With Ben Gilroy:

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When asked by the presenter if there were any protections in place to protect people who might find themselves in the situation of a Sheriff coming to repossess their family home, Ben Gilroy immediately states that the first line of defense for these people is right here at People For Economic Justice. He gives a short detail of the rights people have protected under the constitution.

One major point Ben Gilroy puts forward in this interview is that in actuality, the Government did in fact put finances in place for the banks to use to cushion the blow for mortgage holders who find themselves unable to pay. This money was simply swallowed up by the banks and not passed on as was intended. The interviewed asserts to Ben Gilroy that the law states that the bank have the right to come and take your home from you if you do not pay. Ben informs him that this is in fact not the case, as no law states this. In the proper circumstance there would need to be a contract in place that states this, but in most cases this is not the case.

Let us reiterate at this point, that the constitution prevent’s eviction of a person from their dwelling, when it says “The Dwelling Of Every Citizen Is Inviolable And Shall Not Be Forcibly Entered Save In Accordance With Law”. The presenter states that the Sheriff has the law on their side as they are in possession of a court order whenever they turn up. As Ben Gilroy replies: “The constitution trumps a court order”. The presenter asserts that “the court operates under the constitution”. Ben agrees.

One last note is the presenters comment “That issues like this cannot be solved over night”. As Ben says, “of course it can, you have to remember, the banks problems got solved over night”.

Source: Newstalk.

Midwest Radio Interview Ben Gilroy

Midwest Radio who interviewed Ben Gilroy

Today Ben Gilroy was interviewed by Midwest Radio. During this interview Ben discusses the talk held in Wicklow, featuring himself, Ray Whitehead, Clare Leonard and others. Ben also covers the usual bases with Midwest Radio, such as the unsecured bondholder repayments and the court case against the government.

During the interview, and during the talk, Ben talks about how democracy in Ireland is simple a politician turning up on your doorstep to ask for your vote based on certain promises, and then once in office essentially does whatever they please on any given issue. They then return in 5-7 years to see if you might give them your vote again. This culture of ignoring whatever mandate they receive simply must stop, and the solution is briefly mentioned in the interview. More on that afterwards.

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Direct Democracy As Discussed On Midwest Radio:

This is one of the earliest interviews in which Ben discovers the political party currently being set up called Direct Democracy Ireland. This party is entering the political spectrum with a single mission in mind: to restore the illegally removed final two articles from the Irish Constitution, which contained the right to direct democracy, as well as the right to remove people from political office if they failed to uphold the mandate that their local area put them in office to action.

Direct Democracy is a relatively simple political process, that was a part of the original 1922 Bunreacht Na hEireann, and was removed in the revised 1937 constitution. In this system, any citizen can bring about a referendum on any given topic, provided they can gather a predetermined amount of signatures in support of the issue’s being raised to a referendum. In the original wording of the constitution that number was 75,000. If this system had been in place at 2008, and a bailout of unguaranteed bondholders had been announced, how long would it have taken to gather that number of signatures  and what would have been the result of that referendum? We at People For Economic Justice don’t feel it would have taken more than an afternoon.

Source: Midwest Radio, listen to more of their interviews here.