Transitory Provisions of the Constitution of Ireland

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Transitory Provisions of the Constitution of Ireland  (1937) 

The Transitory Provisions of the Constitution of Ireland were adopted with the constitution as a whole in 1937 and have been amended, once, under the Second Amendment on 30th May, 1941. They comprise (or did comprise) Articles 51 to 63 of the constitution.

Under their own terms Article 51 has been omitted from the official text of the constitution since 1941 and the remainder since 1938. However, paradoxically, and with the exception of Article 51, they continue to have the full force of law and so may be considered to remain an integral part of the constitution. Indeed, at the time the Second Amendment was made, altering Article 56, the Transitional Provisions had already ceased to be a part of the official text.

The thirteen articles mandate arrangements for the smooth transition from the old Irish Free State to the new state brought into being by the Constitution of Ireland. They deal with such matters as the transitional amendment of the constitution by ordinary legislation, the transition and reconstitution of the executive and legislature, the continuance of the civil service, the entry into office of the first president, the temporary continuance of the courts, and the continuance of the attorney general, the comptroller and auditor general, the Defence Forces and the police.

The changes effected under the Second Amendment are reflected in the text given here.

Text[edit]

TRANSITORY PROVISIONS


Article 51[edit]

  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 46 hereof, any of the provisions of this Constitution, except the provisions of the said Article 46 and this Article, may, subject as hereinafter provided, be amended by the Oireachtas, whether by way of variation, addition or repeal, within a period of three years after the date on which the first President shall have entered upon the office.
  2. A proposal for the amendment of this Constitution under this Article shall not be enacted into law if, prior to such enactment, the President, after consultation with the Council of State, shall have signified in a message under his hand and Seal addressed to the Chairman of each of the Houses of the Oireachtas that the proposal is in his opinion a proposal to effect an amendment of such a character and importance that the will of the people thereon ought to be ascertained by Referendum before its enactment into law.
  3. The foregoing provisions of this Article shall cease to have the force of law immediately upon the expiration of the period of three years referred to in section 1 hereof.
  4. This Article shall be omitted from every official text of this Constitution published after the expiration of the said period.

Article 52[edit]

  1. This Article and subsequent Articles shall be omitted from every official text of this Constitution published after the date on which the first President shall have entered upon his office.
  2. Every Article of this Constitution which is hereafter omitted in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Article from the official text of this Constitution shall notwithstanding such omission continue to have the force of law.

Article 53[edit]

  1. On the coming into operation of this Constitution a general election for Seanad Éireann shall be held in accordance with the relevant Articles of this Constitution as if a dissolution of Dáil Éireann had taken place on the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.
  2. For the purposes of this Article references in the relevant provisions of this Constitution to a dissolution of Dáil Éireann shall be construed as referring to the coming into operation of this Constitution, and in those provisions the expression "Dáil Éireann" shall include the Chamber of Deputies (Dáil Éireann) established by the Constitution hereby repealed.
  3. The first assembly of Seanad Éireann shall take place not later than one hundred and eighty days after the coming into operation of this Constitution.

Article 54[edit]

  1. The Chamber of Deputies (Dáil Éireann) established by the Constitution hereby repealed and existing immediately before that repeal shall, on the coming into operation of this Constitution, become and be Dáil Éireann for all the purposes of this Constitution.
  2. Every person who is a member of the said Chamber of Deputies (Dáil Éireann) immediately before the said repeal shall, on the coming into operation of this Constitution, become and be a member of Dáil Éireann as if he had been elected to be such member at an election held under this Constitution.
  3. The member of the said Chamber of Deputies (Dáil Éireann) who is immediately before the said repeal Ceann Comhairle shall upon the coming into operation of this Constitution become and be the Chairman of Dáil Éireann.

Article 55[edit]

  1. After the coming into operation of this Constitution and until the first assembly of Seanad Éireann, the Oireachtas shall consist of one House only.
  2. The House forming the Oireachtas under this Article shall be Dáil Éireann.
  3. Until the first President enters upon his office, the Oireachtas shall be complete and capable of functioning notwithstanding that there is no President.
  4. Until the first President enters upon his office, bills passed or deemed to have been passed by the House or by both Houses of the Oireachtas shall be signed and promulgated by the Commission hereinafter mentioned instead of by the President.

Article 56[edit]

  1. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Government in office immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be the Government for the purposes of this Constitution and the members of that Government shall without any appointment under Article 13 hereof, continue to hold their respective offices as if they had been appointed thereto under the said Article 13.
  2. The members of the Government in office on the date on which the first President shall enter upon his office shall receive official appointments from the President as soon as may be after the said date.
  3. The Departments of State of Saorstát Éireann shall as on and from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution and until otherwise determined by law become and be the Departments of State.
  4. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Civil Service of the Government of Saorstát Éireann shall become and be the Civil Service of the Government.
  5. 1° Nothing in this Constitution shall prejudice or affect the terms and conditions of service, or the tenure of office or the remuneration of any person who was in any Governmental employment immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Constitution.
2° Nothing in this Article shall operate to invalidate or restrict any legislation whatsoever which has been enacted or may be enacted hereafter applying to or prejudicing or affecting all or any of the matters contained in the next preceding sub-section.

Article 57[edit]

  1. The first President shall enter upon his office not later than one hundred and eighty days after the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.
  2. After the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution and pending the entry of the first President upon his office the powers and functions of the President under this Constitution shall be exercised by a Commission consisting of the following persons, namely, the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court, and the Chairman of Dáil Éireann.
  3. Whenever the Commission is incomplete by reason of a vacancy in an office the holder of which is a member of the Commission, the Commission shall, during such vacancy, be completed by the substitution of the senior judge of the Supreme Court who is not already a member of the Commission in the place of the holder of such office, and likewise in the event of any member of the Commission being, on any occasion, unable to act, his place shall be taken on that occasion by the senior judge of the Supreme Court who is available and is not already a member, or acting in the place of a member, of the Commission.
  4. The Commission may act by any two of their number.
  5. The provisions of this Constitution which relate to the exercise and performance by the President of the powers and functions conferred on him by this Constitution shall apply to the exercise and performance of the said powers and functions by the said Commission in like manner as those provisions apply to the exercise and performance of the said powers and functions by the President.

Article 58[edit]

  1. On and after the coming into operation of this Constitution and until otherwise determined by law, the Supreme Court of Justice, the High Court of Justice, the Circuit Court of Justice and the District Court of Justice in existence immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution relating to the determination of questions as to the validity of any law, continue to exercise the same jurisdictions respectively as theretofore, and any judge or justice being a member of any such Court shall, subject to compliance with the subsequent provisions of this Article, continue to be a member thereof and shall hold office by the like tenure and on the like terms as theretofore unless he signifies to the Taoiseach his desire to resign.
  2. Every such judge and justice who shall not have so signified his desire to resign shall make and subscribe the declaration set forth in section 5 of Article 34 of this Constitution.
  3. This declaration shall be made and subscribed by the Chief Justice in the presence of the Taoiseach, and by each of the other judges of the said Supreme Court, the judges of the said High Court and the judges of the said Circuit Court in the presence of the Chief Justice in open court.
  4. In the case of the justices of the said District Court the declaration shall be made and subscribed in open court.
  5. Every such declaration shall be made immediately upon the coming into operation of this Constitution, or as soon as may be thereafter.
  6. Any such judge or justice who declines or neglects to make such declaration in the manner aforesaid shall be deemed to have vacated his office.

Article 59[edit]

On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the person who is the Attorney General of Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall, without any appointment under Article 30 of this Constitution, become and be the Attorney General as if he had been appointed to that office under the said Article 30.

Article 60[edit]

On the coming into operation of this Constitution the person who is the Comptroller and Auditor General of Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall, without any appointment under Article 33 of this Constitution, become and be the Comptroller and Auditor General as if he had been appointed to that office under the said Article 33.

Article 61[edit]

  1. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Defence Forces and the Police Forces of Saorstát Éireann in existence immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be respectively the Defence Forces and the Police Forces of the State.
  2. 1° Every commissioned officer of the Defence Forces of Saorstát Éireann immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be a commissioned officer of corresponding rank of the Defence Forces of the State as if he had received a commission therein under Article 13 of this Constitution.
2° Every officer of the Defence Forces of the State at the date on which the first President enters upon his office shall receive a commission from the President as soon as may be after that date.

Article 62[edit]

This Constitution shall come into operation

i. on the day following the expiration of a period of one hundred and eighty days after its approval by the people signified by a majority of the votes cast at a plebiscite thereon held in accordance with law, or,
ii. on such earlier day after such approval as may be fixed by a resolution of Dáil Éireann elected at the general election the polling for which shall have taken place on the same day as the said plebiscite.

Article 63[edit]

A copy of this Constitution signed by the Taoiseach, the Chief Justice, and the Chairman of Dáil Éireann, shall be enrolled for record in the office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court, and such signed copy shall be conclusive evidence of the provisions of this Constitution. In case of conflict between the Irish and the English texts, the Irish text shall prevail.


Changes to Article 56 under Second Amendment[edit]

Under the 'Before' heading bold indicates text subsequently removed. Under 'After' bold represents newly added text.

Before[edit]

  1. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Government in office immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be the Government for the purposes of this Constitution and the members of that Government shall without any appointment under Article 13 hereof, continue to hold their respective offices as if they had been appointed thereto under the said Article 13.
  2. The members of the Government in office on the date on which the first President shall enter upon his office shall receive official appointments from the President as soon as may be after the said date.
  3. The Departments of State of Saorstát Éireann shall as on and from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution and until otherwise determined by law become and be the Departments of State.
  4. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Civil Service of the Government of Saorstát Éireann shall become and be the Civil Service of the Government.
  5. Nothing in this Constitution shall prejudice or affect the terms, conditions, remuneration or tenure of any person who was in any Governmental employment immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Constitution.

Change[edit]

In section 5, the deletion of the words "terms, conditions, remuneration or tenure" and the insertion in their place of the words "terms and conditions of service, or the tenure of office or the remuneration".

The numbering of section 5 as sub-section 1° of that section, and the addition to the said section 5 of a new sub-section as follows, that is to say:—

"2° Nothing in this Article shall operate to invalidate or restrict any legislation whatsoever which has been enacted or may be enacted hereafter applying to or prejudicing or affecting all or any of the matters contained in the next preceding sub-section."


After[edit]

  1. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Government in office immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become and be the Government for the purposes of this Constitution and the members of that Government shall without any appointment under Article 13 hereof, continue to hold their respective offices as if they had been appointed thereto under the said Article 13.
  2. The members of the Government in office on the date on which the first President shall enter upon his office shall receive official appointments from the President as soon as may be after the said date.
  3. The Departments of State of Saorstát Éireann shall as on and from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution and until otherwise determined by law become and be the Departments of State.
  4. On the coming into operation of this Constitution, the Civil Service of the Government of Saorstát Éireann shall become and be the Civil Service of the Government.
  5. Nothing in this Constitution shall prejudice or affect the terms and conditions of service, or the tenure of office or the remuneration of any person who was in any Governmental employment immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Constitution.
2° Nothing in this Article shall operate to invalidate or restrict any legislation whatsoever which has been enacted or may be enacted hereafter applying to or prejudicing or affecting all or any of the matters contained in the next preceding sub-section.

External links[edit]