Dr. Seamus Ó Tuama
Volume 2 Issue 2 Article 3
The current Irish Constitution – Bunreacht na hÉireann – was enacted in 1937. It became the personal mission and central ambition of Éamon de Valera, the then President of the Executive Council (Prime Minister), to draft this new constitution. He set three central goals for this project. Firstly, to establish the basic law of Ireland independent of outside influence, in contrast to the existing constitution, which he saw as a British invention and one that was additionally compromised, in his view, by being linked to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Secondly, he set about establishing a constitution that was less pliable and not subject to amendment by parliament or law, a move away from the British model and towards the American model. Thirdly, he wished to make a definitive statement on the meaning of Irish identity and thus set course for the unfolding of a new Ireland. In this article I explore each of these three goals in de Valera‘s grand mission, drawing out the implications and context of each and projecting the need for review in the light of a very different Ireland with very different demands.
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