On the abolition of weak and feeble law…

The controversy over the Republic’s supreme court decision seems to be dying down as the Oireachtas cancels its ten day Bank Holiday break, to… well, after today there won’t be that much to do. As I type the new laws are being debated has been debated in both Houses (and passed). The previous loophole is now closed. Over on the Guardian site, I’ve laid out my thoughts on the onward grind the Republic’s written Constitution on weak and feeble laws of the past.


  • Brian Boru

    The Supreme Court have ordered the re-arrest of Mr.A and have backed the State’s appeal against his release.

  • The Supreme Court has also just ruled in favour of the State’s appeal against the High Court decision to free “Mr. A.”, a case which followed C.C. v Ireland.

    Mr. A. will be going back into prison to serve the remainder of his 3-year sentence.

    The Court said that S.1(1) of the 1935 Act was overturned to allow an accused to say they were genuinely ignorant of the age of the complainant; this is not applicable in Mr. A’s case – Mr. A. had pleaded guilty, and it was clear he was aware of the child’s age throughout.

    A full judgement from the Supreme Cout is to be delivered at a later date.

    An order for the re-arrest of Mr. A. has been made, and he is to be returned to Arbour Hill.


  • Garibaldy

    Surely the fact he got three years in the first place needs addressed too

  • Rory

    As with all former English colonies the great mass of law left in Ireland was English law and little was amended other than that which affected the new order of things. Most laws regarding holding of property or of common law offence against the person were left untouched and new criminal law was introduced (as in most states) slowly, reluctantly and either suddenly as a knee-jerk reaction to a latest event that threatened nervous politicians or as a long growing, persistent demand that might threaten their electibility unless addressed (or at least promised to be addressed).

    I well remember in the ’70s in England being upbraided by fellow left wingers on the oppression of homosexuals in the Republic of Ireland. When I pointed out to them that, while inheriting, unchanged, the pre-Wolfenden legislation, no prosecution had ever been brought under the law, while in post-Wolfenden England, prosecutions, often involving police entrapment were still common and indeed a major concern for English gay men.

    The same was not true in Northern Ireland where, in the late ’60s, the main BBCNI sports commentator, an old Rugby playing hero, was arrested along with other men (all stolidly protestant and middle class) in what became pruriently known as the “Portadown Daisy Chain”.
    What part of human venality, jealousy, self-repression, over-religiosity or over-zealous application of rigid codes played a part in the destruction of these men, we can only but speculate and perhaps we would not want to go there.

    In the Republic of Ireland meanwhile there was was a studiously hypocritical blind eye turned as there was to the common practice of the daughters of the travelling community marrying (with full Church rites) at the age of 14 despite the legal age of female consent to intercourse being sixteen.

    Sometimes, in the absence of speedy redress of outmoded social laws that are yet clearly oppressive, a wise governance and judiciary exercise compassionate hypocrisy.

    Jesus, the Christ, taught that invaluable lesson by his behaviour on “the woman taken in sin”. Good example to follow I often find.

    In any case any attempt to rigidly proscribe the legal age of consensual sexual engagement based on age, in a rapidly changing and diverse age of reaching puberty is doomed to failure and can only be socially administered, as in England and most other places today ,other than where dogmatic fundamentalism rules such as those areas of the United States and parts of Northern Ireland, with that grave experienced social responsibility of compassionate hypocrisy. I recommend it.

    Fortunately, in England at least, the judiciary, on social matters at least, do not comply with the knee jerk demands that the politicians react to from the tabloid press pressures (and so long as they keep complying on issues that affect the wealth accumulation of the wealthy they might possibly be left alone to hold this high moral ground). But, you never know, the US economy is starting to look a wee bit shaky, Wimbeldon is going to be dismal again, Iran might prove resistant, Wayne’s metathingy…………

  • Martin

    Thanks for that Rory. Is there any current problem ir issue in Ireland that is NOT the fault of the English?