Republicanism and the basic law

Recent years have witnessed a revived interest in civic republicanism in Ireland, in tandem with a growing consciousness of republican ideas across the English-speaking world. Yet while republicanism is posited as a catch-all public philosophy and as a framework for political reform in Ireland and elsewhere, its content remains highly ambiguous and contested. Its implications for constitutional structure and constitutional theory are the subject of wide debate in both legal and political thought.

In this book, Eoin Daly and Tom Hickey consider republican themes in the Irish constitutional tradition. While the Irish Constitution has been understood as oscillating between a liberal concern for individual freedoms against the state and a communitarian concern for promoting a shared identity, the authors argue that many of its central features and devices can be interpreted in a distinctively republican light – and specifically, as providing a framework for participation in self-government. They consider how institutions and concepts such as popular sovereignty, constitutional rights, parliamentary government and judicial review might be re-interpreted in light of the republican themes of civic virtue and freedom as non-domination.

This book challenges the myths surrounding the Irish Free Constitution by analysing the document in its context, by looking at how the Constitution was drafted and elucidating the true nature of the document. It examines the reasons why the Constitution did not function as anticipated and investigates whether the failures of the document can be attributed to errors of judgment in the drafting process or to subsequent events and treatment of the document.

As well as giving a comprehensive account of the drafting stages and an analysis of the three alternative drafts for the first time, the book considers the intellectual influences behind the Constitution and the central themes of the document.

This work constitutes a new look at this historic document through a legal lens and the analysis benefits from the advantage of hindsight as well as the archival material now available.

Given the fact that the current Constitution substantially reproduces much of the 1922 text, the work will be of interest to modern constitutional scholars as well as legal historians and anyone with an interest in the period surrounding the creation of the Irish State.

7 The people’s Constitution This Constitution should be prized by the people. It was won in toil, in danger, and in stress. It was negotiated on the cliff’s edge, and it gives to Ireland the care of her own household. It puts into the hands of the Irish people the making and moulding, and the amending or repealing of their own laws. It gives them full fiscal control; it gives them power to develop in peace and reconstruction towards the fullness of National life.1 Introduction While it may not be known for it, one of the principal aims of the 1922 Constitution

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution
Abstract only

Chap 2 28/8/03 1:08 pm Page 26 Constitutions 2 Constitutions describe the fundamental rules according to which states are governed, be they embodied in the law, customs or conventions. They set out how decisions are made, how power is distributed among the institutions of government, the limits of governmental authority and the methods of election and appointment of those who exercise power. Constitutions also define the relationship between the state and the individual and usually include a listing of the rights of the citizen. There are wide variations

in Understanding US/UK government and politics

4 British reaction to the Draft Constitution The draft Constitution presented to the British by the Provisional Government was noteworthy for its emphasis on democratic ideals and popular sovereignty. It was not content to slavishly follow British models and contained a number of striking innovations.1 Introduction: the Collins–de Valera Pact During the period of the drafting of the Constitution, there were discussions as to when the general election required by Article 17 of the Treaty would take place. Collins had made an agreement with de Valera in February

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution

9 The legacy of the Irish Free State Constitution Introduction Opinions diverge on the success of the Irish Free State Constitution. While some highlight positively the liberal democratic nature and experimental features of the Constitution,1 others concentrate on the number of amendments and the short lifespan of the document. The most extreme criticism is that the Constitution was ‘a deeply flawed project which ended in almost total failure’.2 However, that the 1937 Constitution retained and reused most of its predecessor is a testament to the earlier

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution

1 The Constitution Committee and the beginning of the drafting process I do not think I ever worked on a Committee where there was more good fellowship, and where it was possible to have strong differences of opinion without any personal feeling whatsoever. I doubt if a better Committee from the point of view of character and good-will ever attempted to draft a Constitution in any country.1 The Constitution Committee On a cold, sleety day in January 1922, when the newspapers carried stories of the success of the Collins–Craig Agreement, Michael Collins himself

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution
Open Access (free)

chap 4 27/5/03 11:54 am Page 141 4 The Land constitutions Introduction For almost forty years after the federal Constitution went into effect, little attention was paid to state (Land) constitutions in Germany. Amendments were made on numerous occasions, but these were almost always rather minor changes or technical corrections and did not arouse much controversy. At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, this changed dramatically for two major reasons. A scandal in SchleswigHolstein in 1987 involving allegations that the prime minister

in The Länder and German federalism

6 Themes and influences No nation can pursue the path to self-government free from all external considerations and untrammelled by the intellectual influences descending from the past.1 Introduction In order to understand the thinking behind the 1922 Constitution, it is necessary to consider the document in the light of its intellectual and political context. The 1920s were years of momentous significance for Ireland because, after centuries of oppression and revolutionary struggle, the Irish people had finally gained the freedom to construct a new State for

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution
Abstract only

Reflections A new page of Irish history is beginning. We have a rich and fertile country – a sturdy and intelligent people. With peace, security and union, no one can foresee the limits of greatness and well-being to which our country may not aspire.1 It was in the spirit of the above quotation from Collins that the first Constitution of the modern Irish State was drafted. There was hope and enthusiasm for the future of the fledgling state. Now that the Irish people had finally gained the freedom to construct their own political and legal institutions, it was

in Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution