Twenty-Ninth Amendment to the Constitution


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TWENTY-NINTH AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION (SECULARISATION AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION)
BILL 2010
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ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
Section

1.
Amendment of the Preamble of the Constitution.
2.
Amendment of Article 6 of the Constitution.
3.
Amendment of Article 12 of the Constitution.
4.
Amendment of Article 31 of the Constitution.
5.
Amendment of Article 34 of the Constitution.
6.
Validity of declarations.
7.
Amendment of Article 40 of the Constitution (freedom of expression).
8.
Amendment of Article 42 of the Constitution.
9.
Amendment of Article 44 of the Constitution.
10.
Citation.


SCHEDULE
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
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TWENTY-NINTH AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION (SECULARISATION AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION)
BILL 2010
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BILL
entitled
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION.
WHEREAS by virtue of Article 46 of the Constitution any provision of the Constitution may be amended in the manner provided by that Article:
AND WHEREAS it is proposed to amend the Preamble and Articles 6, 12, 31, 34, 40, 42 and 44 of the Constitution:
BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:
Amendment of the Preamble of the Constitution.
1. — The Preamble of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(1) in the Irish text —
(a) the words “In Ainm na Tríonóide Ró-Naofa is tobar don uile údarás agus gur chuici, ós í is críoch dheireanach dúinn, is dírithe ní amháin gníomhartha daoine ach gníomhartha Stát,
“Ar mbeith dúinne, muintir na hÉireann, ag admháil go huiríseal a mhéid atáimid faoi chomaoin ag Íosa Críost, ár dTiarna Dia, a thug comhfhurtacht dár sinsir i ngach cruatan ina rabhadar ar feadh na gcéadta bliain,
“Agus ar mbeith dúinn ag cuimhneamh go buíoch ar a chalmacht a rinneadarsan troid gan staonadh chun an neamhspleáchas is dual dár Náisiún a bhaint amach,” shall be deleted, and
(b) the words “[insert Irish text]” shall be inserted at the beginning of the Preamble.
(2) in the English text —
(a) the words “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,” shall be deleted, and
(b) the words “We, the people of Éire,
“Gratefully remembering the heroic and unremitting struggle of our fathers to regain the rightful independence of our Nation through centuries of trial,” shall be inserted at the beginning of the Preamble.
Amendment of Article 6 of the Constitution.
2. — Article 6 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
In the Irish text the words “, faoi Dhia,” and in the English text the words “, under God,” shall be repealed.
Amendment of Article 12 of the Constitution.
3. — The declaration of the President in section 8 of Article 12 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(1) in the Irish text the words, “I láthair Dia na nUilechumhacht,” shall be deleted and capitalisation of the following word adjusted accordingly;
(2) in the English text the words, “In the presence of Almighty God” shall be deleted, and
(3) the last sentence of the declaration in both the Irish text and the English text shall be deleted.
Amendment of Article 31 of the Constitution.
4. — The declaration of members of the Council of State in section 4 of Article 31 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(1) in the Irish text the words, “I láthair Dia na nUilechumhacht,” shall be deleted and capitalisation of the following word adjusted accordingly, and
(2) in the English text the words, “In the presence of Almighty God” shall be deleted.
Amendment of Article 34 of the Constitution.
5. — The declaration of the judges in subsection 1° of section 5 of Article 34 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(1) in the Irish text the words, “I láthair Dia na nUilechumhacht,” shall be deleted and capitalisation of the following word adjusted accordingly;
(2) in the English text the words, “In the presence of Almighty God” shall be deleted, and
(3) the last sentence of the declaration in both the Irish text and the English text shall be deleted.
Validity of declarations.
6. — Declarations made before the coming into effect of the amendments enacted by Sections 3, 4 and 5 above shall continue to have effect as if the said declarations were made as amended. The tenure of office of any person having made a constitutional declaration prior to the coming into effect of this Act shall not be affected merely by the subsequent amendment of the form of words of the said constitutional  declaration.
Amendment of Article 40 of the Constitution (freedom of expression).
7. — Article 40 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(1) in the Irish text in section 6, subsection 1° the words, “[Irish text]” and the whole of paragraph i. shall be repealed and a new paragraph i., the text of which is set out in Part 1 of the Schedule, shall be inserted before paragraph ii. of subsection 1° of section 6 of the Irish text.
(2) in the English text in section 6, subsection 1° the words, “, subject to public order and morality” and the whole of paragraph i. shall be repealed and a new para graph i., the text of which is set out in Part 2 of the Schedule, shall be inserted before paragraph ii. of subsection 1° of section 6 of the English text.
Amendment of Article 42 of the Constitution.
8. —Article 42 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:
(1) in section 1. of the Irish text the words, “[Irish text]” and in section 1. of the English text the words, “religious and” shall be repealed, and
(2) in section 4. of the Irish text the words, “, go mór mór maidir le múnlú na haigne i gcúrsaí creidimh is moráltachta” and in section 4. of the English text the words, “, especially in the matter of religious and moral formation” shall be repealed.
Amendment of Article 44 of the Constitution.
9. —(1) The whole of Article 44 of the Constitution, in both the Irish and English text, is hereby repealed, including the title thereof.
(2) A new Article 44 shall be inserted in the Irish text, the text of which is set out in Part 3 of the Schedule.
(3) A new Article 44 shall be inserted in the English text, the text of which is set out in Part 4 of the Schedule.


Citation.
10.—(1) The amendment of the Constitution effected by this Act shall be called the Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution.
(2) This Act may be cited as the Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution (Secularisation and Freedom of Expression) Act 2010.

SCHEDULE

Part 1
i.         (a)[Irish text]
          (b)[Irish text]

Part 2
i.         (a) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent the State from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
          (b) The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Part 3
[Irish text (title)]
Airteagal 44
1.       [Irish text]
2.       [Irish text]
3.       [Irish text]
4.       [Irish text]
5.       [Irish text]

Part 4
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
Article 44
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change or abandon their religion or belief; freedom to adopt, construct or found a religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest their religion or belief, in worship, teaching, prostelysing, practice and observance.
  2. No one shall be compelled, either by the State, by any institution or association or by any other person to adopt, manifest, practise or declare their adherence to any religion or belief either directly or indirectly. No one shall persecute, unfairly discriminate against, intimidate or indoctrinate any other person in matters of religion or belief. No one shall restrict the right of any person to attempt to access information about any religion or belief.
3.      The Supreme Law of Ireland is this Constitution, the treaty obligations entered into by the State and current laws in force in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. No one shall, through institutional agreement, personal or group pressure or through the tenets, rules or laws of any religion or belief or otherwise subvert the supremacy of the Law of Ireland or restrict, impede or amend the rights of any person as guaranteed or protected by the Law of Ireland.
4.      The State shall not give any special privileges to the institutions of any religion or belief and shall not provide funding for the promotion or practice of any religion or belief. The State may provide funding to institutions providing services on behalf of the State such as schools and hospitals which are managed by religious or faith based organisations provided that the funding is limited to the provision of those services, the recipients of those services are not required or pressured to belong to or adhere to any particular religion or belief or to take part in any act of worship or faith-based instruction or teaching.
5.      In order to give full effect to the provisions of Section 2 of this Article the State may make laws concerning the use of religious symbols in public and private schools, hospitals and other public places where services are provided other than places purely intended for worship.

Explanatory Memorandum
Purpose of Bill
The purpose of the amendments set out in this Bill is to remove religious references from the Constitution and to better define the rights of freedom of expression, thought and conscience so as to more accurately reflect the needs and aspirations of a modern, pluralist,egalitarian nation. The amendments also relieve the State from being bound to maintain in force offences, such as blasphemy and sedition, which are inherently inconsistent with freedom of expression and discourse.
Provisions of the Bill
Section 1 amends the Preamble removing Trinitarian Christian references while retaining acknowledgement of the long struggle for freedom and independence.
Section 2  removes the words, “under God” from the statement that the power of the organs of State derive from the people.
Sections 3, 4 and 5 remove references to God from the declarations made by the President, members of the State Council and judges.
Section 6 affirms that office holders having made decalarations prior to the coming into effect of these constitutional amendments do not need to make new declarations to remain in office.
Section 7  replaces the provisions dealing with freedom of expression with the provisions of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The words, “subject to public order and morality” are removed since they are effectively covered in paragraph (b) of the new provisions. The constitutional offence of the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is repealed.
Section 8  removes the parental obligation to provide religious education to their children.
Section 9  replaces the provisions of the Constitution explicitly dealing with religion with a new Article 44 extending to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
1.          The first section of Article 44 is based on the first part of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights but amplifies the right to change ones religion or belief to include abandoning a religion or belief (without adopting a new one), adopting one (where one might not have any) or founding or contriving a new one. It also includes a right to attempt to persuade others.
2.          The second section recognises the possibility of social, family or institutional pressure to conform or adhere to a religion or belief and outlaws compulsion, whether directly or indirectly. It also guarantees the right of anyone to find out about other religions or beliefs.
3.          The third section re-affirms the position of Constitution Law as the supreme legal authority in Ireland and denies the practical implementation of religious or other faith-based rules or laws where they do not comply with Constitutional Law or restrict the rights of the individual in ways which are repugnant to the Constitution or laws in force under it.
4.          The fourth section prohibits the state from funding or providing special privileges to institutions of religion or belief other than where such institutions provide services on behalf of the State and only to the extent of such provision. The provision of services shall not be provided in a way that is discriminatory against or preferential to the adherents or non-adherents of any particular religion or belief and they must not pressurise the recipients of such services to take part in any religious or faith-based activity.
5.          The fifth section permits the making of laws regulating religious symbols in public and private institutions where services are provided, except in places intended only for worship, in order to reduce the likelihood of religious compulsion or pressure.
Section 10  contains the name of the amendment effected by this Bill and the short title of the Bill.