The 1922 Constitution
The Creation of the Irish Constitution
Photograph of the Irish Free State Constitution Committee, 1922 – Michael Collins was Chairman and opened the first meeting
The meetings were held in the Constitution Room of the Shelbourne Hotel, The public have access by permission. The room still retains its 1922 layout.
The Constitution Committee in Session
From Left to Right:- R.J.P. Mortished (Secretary); John O’Byrne, B.L.; C.J. France; Darrell Figgis (Acting Chairman); Ned Stephens, B.L. (Secretary); P.A. O’Toole, B.L. (Secretary); James McNeill (sic); Hugh Kennedy K.C.; James Murnahan (sic), B.L.;James Douglas
(Alfred O’Rahilly and Kevin O’Shiel B.L., were absent from the Session.)
The Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act, 1922 and Public General Acts passed by Oireachtas of Saorstát Eireann during the year 1922. (Author: [unknown])
CONSTITUTION OF THE IRISH FREE STATE (SAORSTÁT EIREANN) ACT, 1922.
AN ACT TO ENACT A CONSTITUTION FOR THE IRISH FREE STATE (SAORSTÁT EIREANN) AND FOR IMPLEMENTING THE TREATY BETWEEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND SIGNED AT LONDON ON THE 6TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 1921.
DAIL EIREANN sitting as a Constituent Assembly in this Provisional Parliament, acknowledging that all lawful authority comes from God to the people and in the confidence that the National life and unity of Ireland shall thus be restored, hereby proclaims the establishment of The Irish Free State (otherwise called Saorstát Eireann) and in the exercise of undoubted right, decrees and enacts as follows:—
The Constitution set forth in the First Schedule hereto annexed shall be the Constitution of The Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann).
The said Constitution shall be construed with reference to the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland set forth in the Second Schedule hereto annexed (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Scheduled Treaty’) which are hereby given the force of law, and if any provision of the said Constitution or of any amendment thereof or of any law made thereunder is in any respect repugnant to any of the provisions of the Scheduled Treaty, it shall, to the extent only of such repugnancy, be absolutely void and inoperative and the Parliament and the Executive Council of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall respectively pass such further legislation and do all such other things as may be necessary to implement the Scheduled Treaty.
This Act may be cited for all purposes as the Constitution of The Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act, 1922.
FIRST SCHEDULE ABOVE REFERRED TO.
CONSTITUTION OF THE IRISH FREE STATE.
The Irish Free State (otherwise hereinafter called or sometimes called Saorstát Eireann) is a co-equal member of the Community of Nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.
All powers of government and all authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, in Ireland are derived from the people of Ireland, and the same shall be exercised in the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) through the organisations established by or under, and in accord with this Constitution.
Every person, without distinction of sex, domiciled in the area of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State at the time of the coming into operation of this Constitution, who was born in Ireland or either of whose parents was born in Ireland or who has been ordinarily resident in the area of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State and shall within the limits of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State enjoy the privileges and be subject to the obligations of such citizenship: Provided that any such person being a citizen of another State may elect not to accept the citizenship hereby conferred: and the conditions governing the future acquisition and termination of citizenship in the Irish Free State shall be determined by law.
The National Language of the Irish Free State is the Irish language, but the English language shall be equally recognised as an official language. Nothing in this Article shall prevent special provisions being made by the Parliament of the Irish Free State (otherwise called and herein generally referred to as the ‘Oireachtas’) for districts or areas in which only one language is in general use.
No title of honour in respect of any services rendered in or in relation to the Irish Free State may be conferred on any citizen of the Irish Free State except with the approval or upon the advice of the Executive Council of the State.
The liberty of the person is inviolable, and no person shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with the law. Upon complaint made by or on behalf of any person that he is being unlawfully detained, the High Court and any and every judge thereof shall forthwith enquire into the same and may make an order requiring the person in whose custody such person shall be detained to produce the body of the person so detained before such Court or judge without delay, and to certify in writing as to the cause of the detention and such Court or judge shall thereupon order the release of such person unless satisfied that he is being detained in accordance with the law: Provided, however, that nothing in this Article containedshall be invoked to prohibit, control or interfere with any act of the military forces of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) during the existence of a state of war or armed rebellion.
The dwelling of each citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered except in accordance with law.
Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen, and no law may be made either directly or indirectly to endow any religion or prohibit or restrict the free exercise thereof or give any preference, or impose any disability on account of religious belief or religious status, or affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school receiving public money without attending the religious instruction at the school, or make any discrimination as respects State aid between schools under the management of different religious denominations, or divert from any religious denomination or any educational institution any of its property except for the purpose of roads, railways, lighting, water or drainage works or other works of public utility, and on payment of compensation.
The right of free expression of opinion as well as the right to assemble peaceably and without arms, and to form associations or unions is guaranteed for purpose not opposed to public morality. Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations and the right of free assembly may be exercised shall contain no political, religious or class distinction.
All citizens of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) have the right to free elementary education.
All the lands and waters, mines and minerals, within the territory of the Irish Free State hitherto vested in the State, or any department thereof, or held for the public use or benefit, and also all the natural resources of the same territory (including the air and all forms of potential energy), and also all royalties and franchises within that territory shall, from and after the date of the coming into operation of this constitution, belong to the Irish Free State, subject to any trusts, grants, leases or concessions then existing in respect thereof or any valid private interest therein, and shall be controlled and administered by the Oireachtas, in accordance with such regulations and provisions as shall be from time to time approved by legislation, but the same shall not, nor shall any part thereof, be alienated, but may in the public interest be from time to time granted by way of lease or licence to be worked or enjoyed under the authority and subject to the control of the Oireachtas. Provided that no such lease or licence may be made for a term exceeding ninety-nine years, beginning from the date thereof, and no such lease or licence may be renewable by the terms thereof.
A Legislature is hereby created, to be known as the Oireachtas, It shall consist of the King and two Houses, the Chamber of Deputies otherwise called and herein generally referred to as ‘Dáil Eireann’) and the Senate (otherwise called the and herein generally referred to as ‘Seanad Eireann’). The sole and exclusive power of making laws for the peace, order and good government of the Irish Free State is vested in the Oireachtas.
The Oireachtas shall sit in or near the city of Dublin or in such other place as from time to time it may determine.
All citizens of the Irish Free State without distinction of sex, who have reached the age of twenty-one years and who comply with the provisions of the prevailing electoral laws, shall have the right to vote for members of Dáil Eireann, and to take part in the Referendum and Initiative. All citizens of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) without distinction of sex who have reached the age of thirty years and who comply with the provisions of the prevailing electoral laws, shall have the right to vote for members of Seanad Eireann. No voter may exercise more than one vote at an election to either House, and the voting shall be by secret ballot. The mode and place of exercising this right shall be determined by law.
Every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years and who is not placed under disability or incapacity by the Constitution or by law shall be eligible to become a member of Dáil Eireann.
No person may be at the same time a member both of Dáil Eireann and of Seanad Eireann, and if any person who is already a member of either House is elected to be a member of the other House, he shall forthwith be deemed to have vacated his first seat.
The oath to be taken by members of the Oireachtas shall be in the following form:—
I . . . do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) as by law established, and that I will be faithful to H. M. King George V., his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherency to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Such oath shall be taken and subscribed by every member of the Oireachtas before taking his seat therein before the representative of the Crown or some other person authorised by him.
Every member of the Oireachtas shall except in case of treason, 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 action or proceeding in any Court other than the House itself.
All official reports and publications of the Oireachtas or of either House thereof shall be privileged and utterances made in ether House wherever published shall be privileged.
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.
Each House shall elect its own Chairman and Deputy Chairman, and shall prescribe their powers, duties, remuneration, and terms of offices.
All matters in each House shall save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present other than the Chairman or presiding member, who shall have and exercise a casting vote in the case member, who shall have and exercise a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes. 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.
The Oireachtas shall make provision for the payment of its members, and may in addition provide them with free travelling facilities to any part of Ireland.
The Oireachtas shall hold at least one session each year. the Oireachtas shall be summoned and dissolved by the Representative of the Crown in the name of the King and subject as aforesaid Dáil Eireann shall fix the date of re-assembly of the Oireachtas and the date of the conclusion of the session of each House: Provided that the sessions of Seanad Eireann shall not be concluded without its own consent.
Sittings of each House of the Oireachtas shall be public. In cases of special emergency either House may hold a private sitting with the assent of two-thirds of the members present.
Dáil Eireann shall be composed of members who represent constituencies determined by law. The number of members shall be fixed from time to time by the Oireachtas, but the total number of members of Dáil Eireann (exclusive of members for the Universities) 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: Provided that the proportion 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 possible, be identical throughout the country. The members shall be elected upon principles of Proportional Representation. The Oireachtas shall revise the constituencies at least once in every ten 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 Eireann sitting when such revision is made.
Each University in the Irish Free State which was in existence at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, shall be entitled to elect three representatives to Dáil Eireann upon a franchise and in a manner to be prescribed by law.
At a General Election for Dáil Eireann the polls (exclusive of those for members for the Universities) shall be held on the same day through out the country, and that day shall be a day not later than thirty days after the date of the dissolution, and shall be proclaimed a public holiday. Dáil Eireann shall meet within one month of such day and shall, unless earlier dissolved, continue for four years from date of its first meeting, and not longer. Dáil Eireann may not at any time be dissolved except on the advice of the Executive Council.
In case of death, resignation or disqualification of a member of Dáil Eireann, the vacancy shall be filled by election in manner to be determined by law.
Seanad Eireann shall be composed of citizens who shall be proposed on the grounds that they have done honour to the Nation by reason of useful public service or that, because of special qualifications or attainments, they represent important aspects of the Nation’s life.
The number of members of Seanad Eireann shall be sixty. A citizen to be eligible for membership of Seanad Eireann must be a person eligible to become a member of Dáil Eireann, and must have reached the age of thirty-five years. Subject to any provision for the constitutions of the first Seanad Eireann the term of office of a member of Seanad Eireann shall be twelve years.
One fourth of the members of Seanad Eireann shall be elected every three years from a panel constituted as hereinafter mentioned at an election at which the area of the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall form one electoral area, and the elections shall be held on principles of Proportional Representation.
Before each election of members of Seanad Eireann a panel shall be formed consisting of:—
Three times as many qualified persons as there are members to be elected, of whom two-thirds shall be nominated by Dáil Eireann voting according to principles of Proportional representation and one-third shall be nominated by Seanad Eireann voting according to principles of Proportional Representation; and Such persons who have at any time been members of Seanad Eireann (including members about to retire) as signify by notice in writing addressed to the President of the Executive Council their desire to be included in the panel.
The method of proposal and selection for nomination shall be decided by Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann respectively, with special reference to the necessity for arranging for the representation of important interests and institutions in the country: Provided that each proposal shall be in writing and shall state the qualifications of the person proposed and that no person shall be proposed without his own consent. As soon as the panel has been formed a list of the names of the members of the panel arranged in alphabetical order with their qualifications shall be published.
In case of death, resignation or disqualification of a member of Seanad Eireann his place shall be filled by a vote of Seanad Eireann. Any member of Seanad Eireann so chosen shall retire from office at the conclusion of three years period then running and the vacancy thus created shall be additional to the places to be filled under Article 32 of this Constitution. The term of office of members chosen at the election after the first fifteen elected shall conclude at the end of the period or periods at which the member or members of Seanad Eireann, by whose death or withdrawal the vacancy or vacancies was or were originally created, would be due to retire: Provided that the sixteenth member shall be deemed to have filled the vacancy first created in order of time and so on.
Dáil Eireann shall in addition to the subject matter of Money Bills as hereinafter defined have legislative authority exclusive of Seanad Eireann.
A Money Bill means a Bill which contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following subjects, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxation; the imposition for the payment of debt or other financial purposes of charges on public moneys or the variation or repeal of any such charges; supply; the appropriation, receipt, custody, issue or audit of accounts of public money; the raising or guarantee of any loan or the repayment thereof; subordinate matters incidental to those subjects or any of them. In this definition the expressions ‘taxation,’ ‘public money’ and ‘loan’ respectively do not include any taxation, money or loan raised by local authorities or bodies for local purposes.
The Chairman of Dáil Eireann shall certify any Bill which in his opinion is a Money Bill to be a Money Bill, but, if within three days a Bill has been passed by Dáil Eireann two-fifths of the members of either House by notice in writing addressed to the Chairman of the House of which they are members so require, the question whether the Bill is or is not a Money Bill shall be referred to a Committee of Privileges consisting of three members elected by each House with a Chairman who shall be the senior judge of the Supreme Court able and willing to act, and who, in the case of equality of votes, but not otherwise, shall be able to vote. The decision of the Committee in question shall be final and conclusive.
Dáil Eireann shall as soon as possible after the commencement of each financial year consider the Estimates of receipts and expenditure of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) for that year, and 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
Money shall not be appropriated by vote, resolution or law, unless the purpose of the appropriation has in the same session been recommended by a message from the Representative of the Crown acting on the advice of the Executive Council.
Every Bill initiated in and passed by Dáil Eireann shall be sent to Seanad Eireann and may, unless it be a Money Bill, be amended in Seanad Eireann and Dáil Eireann shall consider any such amendment; but a Bill passed by Dáil Eireann and considered by Seanad Eireann shall, not later than two hundred and seventy days after it shall have been first sent to Seanad Eireann, or such longer period as may be agreed upon by the two Houses, be deemed to be passed by both Houses in the form in which it was last passed by Dáil Eireann: Provided that every Money Bill shall be sent to Seanad Eireann for its recommendations and at a period not longer than twenty-one days after it shall have been sent to Seanad Eireann, it shall be returned to Dáil Eireann which may pass it, accepting or rejecting all or any of the recommendations of Seanad Eireann, and as so passed or if not returned within such period of twenty-one days shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses. When a Bill other than a Money Bill has been sent to Seanad Eireann a Joint Sitting of the Members of both Houses may on a resolution passed by Seanad Eireann be convened for the purpose of debating, but not of voting upon, the proposals of the Bill or any amendment of the same.
A Bill may be initiated in Seanad Eireann and if passed by Seanad Eireann shall be introduced into Dáil Eireann. If amended by Dáil Eireann the Bill shall be considered as a Bill initiated by Dáil Eireann. If rejected by Dáil Eireann it shall not be introduced again in the same session, but Dáil Eireann may reconsider it on its own motion.
A Bill passed by either House and accepted by the other House shall be deemed to be passed by both Houses.
So soon as any Bill shall have been passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses, the Executive Council shall present the same to the Representative of the Crown for the signification by him, in the King’s name, of the King’s assent, and such Representative may withhold the King’s assent or reserve the Bill for the signification of the King’s pleasure: Provided that the Representative of the Crown shall in the withholding of such assent to or the reservation of any Bill, act in accordance with the law, practice, and constitutional usage governing the like withholding of assent or reservation in the Dominion of Canada.
An entry of every such speech, message or proclamation shall be made in the Journal of each House and a duplicate thereof duly attested shall be delivered to the proper officer to be kept among the Records of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann).
As soon as may be after any law has received the King’s assent, the clerk, or such officer as Dáil Eireann may appoint for the purpose, shall cause two fair copies of such law to be made, one being in the Irish language and the other in the English language (one of which copies shall be signed by the Representative of the Crown to be enrolled for record in the office of such officer of the Supreme Court as Dáil Eireann may determine), and such copies shall be conclusive evidence as to the provisions of every such law, and in the case of conflict between the two copies so deposited, that signed by the Representative of the Crown shall prevail.
The Oireachtas shall have no power to declare acts to be infringements of the law which were not so at the date of their commission.
The Oireachtas may create subordinate legislatures with such powers as may be decided by law.
The Oireachtas may provide for the establishment of Functional or Vocational Councils representing branches of the social and economic life of the Nation. A law establishing any such Council shall determine its powers, rights and duties, and its relation to the government of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann).
The Oireachtas has the exclusive right to regulate the raising and maintaining of such armed forces as are mentioned in the Scheduled Treaty in the territory of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) and every such force shall be subject to the control of the Oireachtas.
Any Bill passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses may be suspended for a period of ninety days on the written demand of two-fifths of the members of Dáil Eireann or of a majority of the members of Seanad Eireann presented to the President of the Executive Council not later than seven days from the day on which such a Bill shall have been so passed or deemed to have been so passed. Such a Bill shall in accordance with regulations to be made by the Oireachtas be submitted by Referendum to the decision of the people if demanded before the expiration of the ninety days either by a resolution of Seanad Eireann, or by a petition signed by not less than one-twentieth of the voters then on the register of voters, and the decision of the people by a majority of the votes recorded on such Referendum shall be conclusive. These provisions shall not apply to Money Bills or to such Bills as shall be declared by both Houses to be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety.
The Oireachtas may provide for the initiation by the people of proposals for laws or constitutional amendments. Should the Oireachtas fail to make such provision within two years, it shall on the petition of not less than seventy five thousand voters on the register, of whom not more than fifteen thousand shall be voters in any one constituency, either make such provision or submit the question to the people for decision in accordance with the ordinary regulations governing the Referendum. Any legislation passed by the Oireachtas providing for such Initiation by the people shall provide that such proposals may be initiated on a petition of fifty thousand voters on the register.
that if the Oireachtas rejects a proposal so initiated it shall be submitted to the people for decision in accordance with the ordinary regulations governing the referendum: and
that if the Oireachtas enacts a proposal so initiated such enactment shall be subject to the provisions respecting ordinary legislation or amendments of the Constitution as the case may be.
Save in the case of actual invasion, the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall not be committed to active participation in any war without the assent of the Oireachtas.
Amendments of this Constitution within the terms of the Scheduled Treaty may be made by the Oireachtas, but no such amendment, passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, after the expiration of eight years from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, shall become law, unless the same shall, after it has been passed or deemed to have passed by the said two Houses of the Oireachtas, have been submitted to a Referendum of the people, and unless a majority of the voters on the register shall have recorded their votes on such Referendum, and either the votes of a majority of the voters on the register, or two-thirds of the votes recorded, shall have been cast in favour of such amendment. Any such amendment may be made within the said period of eight years by way of ordinary legislation and as such be subject to the provisions of Article 47 hereof.
The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) is hereby declared to be vested in the King, and shall be exercisable, in accordance with the law, practice and constitutional usage governing the exercise of the Executive Authority in the case of the Dominion of Canada, by the Representative of the Crown. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the government of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) to be styled the Executive Council. The Executive Council shall be responsible to Dáil Eireann, and shall consist of not more than seven nor less than five Ministers appointed by the Representative of the Crown on the nomination of the President of the Executive Council.
These Ministers who form the Executive Council shall all be members of Dáil Eireann and shall include the President of the Council, the Vice-President of the Council and the Minister in charge of the Department of Finance.
The President of the Council shall be appointed on the nomination of Dáil Eireann. He shall nominate a Vice-President of the Council, who shall act for all purposes in the place of the President, if the President shall die, resign, or be permanently incapacitated, until a new President of the Council shall have been elected. The Vice-President shall also act in the place of the President during his temporary absence. The other Ministers who are to hold office as members of the Executive Council shall be appointed on the nomination of the President, with the assent of Dáil Eireann, and he and the Ministers nominated by him shall retire from office should he cease to retain the support of a majority of Dáil Eireann, but the President and such Ministers shall continue to carry on their duties until their successors shall have been appointed: Provided, however, that the Oireachtas shall not be dissolved on the advice of an Executive Council which has ceased to retain the support of the majority of Dáil Eireann.
The Executive Council shall be collectively responsible for all matters concerning the Departments of State administered by Members of the Executive Council. The Executive Council shall prepare Estimates of the receipts and expenditure of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) for each financial year, and shall present them to Dáil Eireann before the close of the previous financial year. The Executive Council shall meet and act as a collective authority.
Ministers who shall not be members of the Executive Council may be appointed by the Representative of the Crown, and shall comply with the provisions of Article 17 of this Constitution. Every such Minister shall be nominated by Dáil Eireann on the recommendation of a Committee of Dáil Eireann chosen by a method to be determined by Dáil Eireann, so as to be impartially representative of Dáil Eireann. Should a recommendation not be acceptable to Dáil Eireann, the Committee may continue to recommend names until one is found acceptable. The total number of Ministers including the Ministers of the Executive Council, shall not exceed twelve.
Every Minister who is not a member of the Executive Council shall be the responsible head of the Department or Departments under his charge, and shall be individually responsible to Dáil Eireann alone for the administration of the Department or Departments of which he is the head: Provided that should arrangements for Functional or Vocational Councils be made by the Oireachtas these Ministers or any of them may, should the Oireachtas so decide, be members of, and be recommended to Dáil Eireann by, such Councils. The term of office of any Minister, not a member of the Executive Council, shall be the term of Dáil Eireann existing at the time of his appointment, but he shall continue in office until his successor shall have been appointed, and no such Minister shall be removed from office during his term otherwise than by Dáil Eireann itself, and then for stated reasons, and after the proposal to remove him has been submitted to a Committee, chosen by a method to be determined by Dáil Eireann, so as to be impartially representative of Dáil Eireann, and the Committee has reported thereon.
Every Minister shall have the right to attend and be heard in Seanad Eireann.
The appointment of a member of Dáil Eireann to be a Minister shall not entail upon him any obligation to resign his seat or to submit himself for re-election.
Ministers shall receive such remuneration as may from time to time be prescribed by law, but the remuneration of any Minister shall not be diminished during his term of office.
The Representative of the Crown, who shall be styled the Governor-General of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall be appointed in like manner as the Governor-General of Canada and in accordance with the practice observed in the making of such appointments. His salary shall be of the like amount as that now payable to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and shall be charged on the public funds of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) and suitable provision shall be made out of these funds for the maintenance of his official residence and establishment.
All revenues of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) 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 of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) in the manner and subject to the charges and liabilities imposed by law.
Dáil Eireann shall appoint a Comptroller and Auditor-General to act on behalf of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann). He shall control all disbursements and shall audit all accounts of moneys administered by or under the authority of the Oireachtas and shall report to Dáil Eireann at stated periods to be determined by law.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General shall not be removed except for stated misbehaviour or incapacity on resolutions passed by Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann. Subject to this provision, the terms and conditions of his tenure of office shall be fixed by law. He shall not be a member of the Oireachtas, nor shall he hold any other office or position of emolument.
The judicial powers of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall be exercised and justice administered in the public Courts established by the Oireachtas by judges appointed in manner hereinafter provided. These Courts shall comprise Courts of First Instance and a Court of Final Appeal to be called the Supreme Court. The Courts of First Instance shall include a High Court invested with full original jurisdiction in and power to determine all matters and questions whether of law or fact, civil or criminal, and also Courts of local and limited jurisdiction, with a right of appeal as determined by law.
The judicial power of the High Court shall extend to the question of the validity of any law having regard to the provisions of the Constitution. In all cases in which such matters shall come into question, the High Court alone shall exercise original jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall, with such exceptions (not including cases which involve questions as to the validity of any law) and subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law, have appellate jurisdiction from all decisions of the High Court. The decision of the Supreme Court shall in all cases be final and conclusive, and shall not be reviewed or capable of being reviewed by any other Court, Tribunal or Authority whatsoever: Provided that nothing in this Constitution shall impair the right of any person to petition His Majesty for special leave to appeal from the Supreme Court to His Majesty in Council or the right of His Majesty to grant such leave.
The number of judges, the constitution and organisation of, and distribution of business and jurisdiction among, the said Courts and judges, and all matters of procedure shall be as prescribed by the laws for the time being in force and regulations made thereunder.
The judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court and of all other Courts established in pursuance of this Constitution shall be appointed by the Representative of the Crown on the advice of the Executive Council. The judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court shall not be removed except for stated misbehaviour or incapacity, and then only by resolutions passed by both Dáil Eireann and Seanad Eireann. The age of retirement, the remuneration and the pension of such judges on retirement and the declarations to be taken by them on appointment shall be prescribed by law. Such remuneration may not be diminished during their continuance of office. The terms of appointment of the judges of such other courts as may be created shall be prescribed by law.
All judges shall be independent in the exercise of their functions, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. A judge shall not be eligible to sit in the Oireachtas, and shall not hold any other office or position of emolument.
No one shall be tried save in due course of law, and extraordinary courts shall not be established, save only such Military Tribunals as may be authorised by law for dealing with Military offenders against military law. The jurisdiction of Military Tribunals shall not be extended to or exercised over the civil population save in time of war, or armed rebellion, and for acts committed in time of war or armed rebellion, and in accordance with the regulations to be prescribed by law. Such jurisdiction shall not be exercised in any area in which all civil courts are open or capable of being held, and no person shall be removed from one area to another for the purpose of creating such jurisdiction.
A member of the armed forces of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) not on active service shall not be tried by any Court Martial or other Military Tribunal for an offence cognisable by the Civil Courts, unless such an offence shall be brought expressly within the jurisdiction of Courts Martial or other Military Tribunal by any code of laws or regulations for the enforcement of military discipline which may be hereafter approved by the Oireachtas.
No person shall be tried on any criminal charge without a jury save in the case of charges in respect of minor offences triable by law before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction and in the case of charges for offences against military law triable by Court Martial or other Military Tribunal.
Subject to this Constitution and to the extent to which they are not inconsistent therewith, the laws in force in the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall continue to be of full force and effect until the same or any of them shall have been repealed or amended by enactment of the Oireachtas.
Nothing in this Constitution shall affect any liability to pay any tax or duty payable in respect of the financial year current at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution or any preceding financial year, or in respect of any period ending on or before the last day of the said financial year, or payable on any occasion happening within that or any preceding year, or the amount of such liability: and during the said current financial year all taxes and duties and arrears thereof shall continue to be assessed, levied and collected in like manner in all respects as immediately before this Constitution came into operation, subject to the like adjustments of the proceeds collected as theretofore applicable; and for that purpose the Executive Council shall have the like powers and be subject to the like liabilities as the Provisional Government.
Goods transported during the said financial year from or to the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) to or from any part of Great Britain or the Isle of Man shall not, except so far as the Executive Council may otherwise direct, in respect of the forms to be used and the information to be furnished, be treated as goods exported or imported, as the case may be.
For the purpose of this Article, the expression ‘financial year’ means, as respects income tax (including super-tax) the year of assessment, and as respect other taxes and duties, the year ending on the thirty-first day of March.
Until Courts have been established for the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) in accordance with this Constitution, the Supreme Court of Judicature, County Courts, Courts of Quarter Sessions and Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, as at present existing, shall for the time being continue to exercise the same jurisdiction as heretofore, and any judge or justice, being a member of any such Court, holding office at the time when this Constitution comes into operation, shall for the time being continue to be a member thereof and hold office by the like tenure and upon the like terms as heretofore, unless, in the case of a judge of the said Supreme Court or of a County Court, he signifies to the Representative of the Crown his desire to resign. Any vacancies in any of the said Courts so continued may be filled by appointment made in like manner as appointments to judgeships in the Courts established under this Constitution: Provided that the provisions of Article 66 of this Constitution as to the decisions of the Supreme Court established under this Constitution shall apply to decisions of the Court of Appeal continued by this Article.
If any judge of the said Supreme Court of Judicature or of any of the said County Courts on the establishment of Courts under this Constitution, is not with his consent appointed to be a judge of any such Court, he shall, for the purpose of Article 10 of the Scheduled Treaty, be treated as if he had retired in consequence of the change of Government effected in pursuance of the said Treaty, but the rights so conferred shall be without prejudice to any rights or claims that he may have against the British Government.
Every existing officer of the Provisional Government at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution (not being an officer whose services have been lent by the British Government to the Provisional Government) shall on that date as transferred to and become an officer of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann), and shall hold office by a tenure corresponding to his previous tenure.
Every such existing officer who has transferred from the British Government by virtue of any transfer of services to the Provisional Government shall be entitled to the benefit of Article 10 of the Scheduled Treaty.
The transfer of the administration of any public service, the administration of which was not before the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution transferred to the Provisional Government, shall be deferred until the 31st day of March, 1923, or such earlier date as may, after one month’s previous notice in the Official Gazette, be fixed by the Executive Council; and such of the officers engaged in the administration of those services at the date of transfer as may be determined in the manner hereinafter appearing shall be transferred to and become officers of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann); and Article 77 of this Constitution shall apply as if such officers were existing officers of the Provisional Government who had been transferred to that Government from the British Government. The officers to be so transferred in respect of any services shall be determined in like manner as if the administration of the services had before the coming into operation of the Constitution been transferred to the Provisional Government.
As respects departmental property, assets, rights and liabilities, the Government of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) shall be regarded as the successors of the Provisional Government, and, to the extent to which functions of any department of the British Government become functions of the Government of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann), as the successors of such department of the British Government.
After the date on which this Constitution comes into operation the House of the Parliament elected in pursuance of the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922 (the constituent assembly for the settlement of this Constitution), may, for a period not exceeding one year from that date, but subject to compliance by members thereof with the provisions of Article 17 of this Constitution, exercise all the powers and authorities conferred on Dáil Eireann by this Constitution, and the first election for Dáil Eireann under Articles 26, 27 and 28 hereof shall take place as soon as possible after the expiration of such period.
Notwithstanding anything contained in Articles 14 and 33 hereof, the first Seanad Eireann shall be constituted immediately after the coming into operation of this Constitution in the manner following, that is to say:—
The first Seanad Eireann shall consist of sixty members, of whom thirty shall be elected and thirty shall be nominated.
The thirty nominated members of Seanad Eireann shall be nominated by the President of the Executive Council who shall, in making such nominations, have special regard to the providing of representation for groups or parties not then adequately represented in Dáil Eireann.
The thirty elected members of Seanad Eireann shall be elected by Dáil Eireann voting on principles of Proportional Representation.
Of the thirty nominated members, fifteen to be selected by lot shall hold office for a full period of twelve years, the remaining fifteen shall hold office for the period of six years.
Of the thirty elected members the first fifteen elected shall hold office for a period of nine years, the remaining fifteen shall hold office for the period of three years.
At the termination of the period of office of any such members, members shall be elected in their place in manner provided by Article 32 of this Constitution.
Casual vacancies shall be filled in manner provided by Article 34 of this Constitution.
The passing and adoption of this Constitution by the Constituent Assembly and the British Parliament shall be announced as soon as may be, and not later than the sixth day of December, Nineteen hundred and twenty-two, by Proclamation of His Majesty, and this Constitution shall come into operation on the issue of such Proclamation.