Legislation in Ireland (such as for example the
Monuments Amendment Bill 2004
or Waste Management
Amendment Act 2002),
starts life as a Bill, which passed by
both Houses of the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament).
Every Bill must be signed by the Irish
President before it can become law in Ireland. As soon as the Bill has
been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, it is presented to the
President for signature.
A Bill must be signed on the 5th, 6th
or 7th day after it has been presented to the President. However, if
the Seanad agrees, the Government may request that the Bill be signed
When a Bill has been presented to the
President, he or she has the power to refer it to the Supreme Court
within 7 days. This power is exercised by the President when there is
doubt as to whether the Bill is constitutional. He or she must first
consult with the Council of State but the decision to refer the Bill
is the President's alone.
If a Bill is referred to the Supreme
Court, it must decide whether or not the Bill conflicts with the
Constitution. If the Supreme Court holds that the Bill is
unconstitutional, the President cannot sign it.
Once a Bill has been signed, the
President must then publish a notice in Iris Oifiguil (the official
State gazette) stating that the Bill has become law.
If the Government wishes to change or
amend the Constitution, a Bill must be passed by both Houses of the
Oireachtas to amend the Constitution. The Irish people must then
approve the Bill in a constitutional referendum.
Once the Bill has been approved by the
people in a referendum, the President must then sign the Bill so that
the Constitution can be amended.
The President has two additional powers
in relation to legislation that have never been exercised.
He or she may refuse to sign a Bill if
a majority of the members of the Seanad and at least one-third of the
members of the DŠil petition him or her not to sign the Bill. The
President must consult with the Council of State before deciding
within 6 days whether or not to sign the Bill.
The President also has a power in
relation to possible Money Bills. The Seanad has less power in
relation to Money Bills. If a conflict arises between the DŠil and the
Seanad as to whether or not a particular Bill is a Money Bill, the
Seanad may ask the President to refer the question to a Committee of
Privileges. The President must consult with the Council of State
before he or she decides whether or not to refer it.
The above information has been copied
from the http://www.oasis.gov.ie web
site, and it is located at the following page address:
What can be done about
unconstitutional legislation which is already in place?