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From the 1937 Constitution

From the 1937 Constitution

Eamon de Valera was the principal author of the 1937 constitution, designed to remove the restrictive features of the 1922 constitution. Ronan Fanning has described it as "the ultimate vindication of de Valera's brand of Irish republicanism." It was approved by referendum on 1 July 1937 by a margin 685,000 to 527,000 votes. Since then it has been subject to more than twenty amendments, including the removal of the ban on divorce and of Article 44, which recognized the special position of the Catholic Church. Articles 2 and 3 were amended in 1998 to conform to the Belfast Agreement.

SEE ALSO Declaration of a Republic and the 1949 Ireland Act; de Valera, Eamon; Gaelic Catholic State, Making of; Overseas Investment; Political Parties in Independent Ireland; Politics: Independent Ireland since 1922; Politics: Impact of the Northern Ireland Crisis on Southern Politics; Religion: Since 1690; Roman Catholic Church: Since 1891

In the name of the most holy trinity, from whom is all authority and to whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and states must be referred,

We, the people of Éire,

Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our divine lord, Jesus Christ, who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,

Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our nation,

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of prudence, justice and charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,

Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this constitution.

The Nation

Article 1 The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.

Article 2 The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.

Article 3 Pending the re-integration of the national territory, and without prejudice to the right of the parliament and government established by this constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole of that territory, the laws enacted by that parliament shall have the like area and extent of applications as the laws of Saorstát Éireann and the like extra-territorial effect.

The State

Article 4 The name of the state is Éire, or in the English language, Ireland.

Article 5 Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state.

Article 6 1. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the state and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.

2. These powers of government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of state established by this constitution.

Article 7 The national flag is the tricolour of green, white and orange.

Article 8 1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.

2. The English language is recognised as a second official language.

3. Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the state or in any part thereof.

Article 9 1. 1° On the coming into operation of this constitution any person who was a citizen of Sarostát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this constitution shall become and be a citizen of Ireland.

2° The future acquisition and loss of Irish nationality and citizenship shall be determined in accordance with law.

3° No person may be excluded from Irish nationality and citizenship by reason of the sex of such person.

2. Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state are fundamental political duties of all citizens.

Article 10 1. All natural resources, including the air and all forms of potential energy, within the jurisdiction of the parliament and government established by this constitution and all royalties and franchises within that jurisdiction belong to the state subject to all estates and interests therein for the time being lawfully vested in any person or body.

2. All land all mines, minerals and waters which belonged to Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this constitution belong to the state to the same extent as they then belonged to Saorstát Éireann. . . .

Article 41 3. 1° The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

2° No law shall be enacted providing for the grant of a dissolution of marriage.

3° No person whose marriage has been dissolved under the civil law of any other state but is a subsisting valid marriage under the law for the time being in force within the jurisdiction of the government and parliament established by this constitution shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage within the jurisdiction during the lifetime of the other party to the marriage so dissolved. . . .

Article 44 1. 1° The state acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold his name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.

2° The state recognises the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church as the guardian of the faith professed by the great majority of its citizens.

3° The state also recognises the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this constitution.

Bunreacht na hÉireann(1937), pp. 2, 4–8, 138, 144.

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