Jul 172009
 

The President, Mary McAleese, has decided to consult the Council of State before signing into law the  Defamation Bill 2006 and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill 2009.  After this meeting, she will decide whether to refer either of the Bills to the Supreme Court for a decision on whether they contain provisions that are unconstitutional.

This is a power given to the President under Article 26 of the Constitution which states as follows:

The President may, after consultation with the Council of State, refer any Bill to which this Article applies to the Supreme Court for a decision on the question as to whether such Bill or any specified provision or provisions of such Bill is or are repugnant to this Constitution or to any provision thereof.

It also says:

In every case in which the Supreme Court decides that any provision of a Bill the subject of a reference to the Supreme Court under this Article is repugnant to this Constitution or to any provision thereof, the President shall decline to sign such Bill.

Unfortunately, the Constitution says nothing about referring bills to the  Supreme Court to find out if they’re utterly ludicrous, and stupid, like the half-witted blasphemy provision in the Defamation Bill.

The Constitution doesn’t say, for example,

The President may, after consultation with the Council of State, refer any Bill to which this Article applies to the Supreme Court for a decision on the question as to whether such Bill or any specified provision or provisions of such Bill was dreamed up by a fucking idiot.

Nor does it say

In every case in which the Supreme Court decides that any provision of a Bill the subject of a reference to the Supreme Court under this Article was dreamed up by an idiot, the President shall call the Minister a fucking fool and instruct him to fuck off.

However, at least it’s encouraging to see that the President – a barrister and law professor – has sufficient concern to call that meeting. I hope common sense will win through, and this ridiculous and unnecessary law will be kicked out. Otherwise, we’re going to take one more step in Ireland’s weary trudge back to the Dark Ages.

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