The Irish Constitution - Fundamental Rights
This is the English text of those articles of the Bunreacht Na
hÉireann (Irish Constitution) pertaining to "Fundamental
- All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.
This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments
have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of
- Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State.
- No title of nobility or of honour may be accepted by any citizen except
with the prior approval of the Government.
- The State guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable,
by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen.
- The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from
unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life,
person, good name, and property rights of every citizen.
- The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due
regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws
to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and
vindicate that right.
This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the
State and another state.
This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available,
in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law,
information relating to services lawfully available in another
- No citizen shall be deprived of his personal liberty save in accordance
- Upon complaint being made by or on behalf of any person to the High Court
or any judge thereof alleging that such person is being unlawfully
detained, the High Court and any and every judge thereof to whom such
complaint is made shall forthwith enquire into the said complaint and
may order the person in whose custody such person is detained to
produce the body of such person before the High Court on a named day
and to certify in writing the grounds of his detention, and the High
Court shall, upon the body of such person being produced before that
Court and after giving the person in whose custody he is detained an
opportunity of justifying the detention, order the release of such
person from such detention unless satisfied that he is being detained in
accordance with the law.
- Where the body of a person alleged to be unlawfully detained is produced
before the High Court in pursuance of an order in that behalf made
under this section and that Court is satisfied that such person is
being detained in accordance with a law but that such law is invalid
having regard to the provisions of this Constitution, the High Court
shall refer the question of the validity of such law to the Supreme
Court by way of case stated and may, at the time of such reference or
at any time thereafter, allow the said person to be at liberty on such
bail and subject to such conditions as the High Court shall fix until
the Supreme Court has determined the question so referred to it.
- The High Court before which the body of a person alleged to be
unlawfully detained is to be produced in pursuance of an order in that
behalf made under this section shall, if the President of the High
Court or, if he is not available, the senior judge of that Court who is
available so directs in respect of any particular case, consist of
three judges and shall, in every other case, consist of one judge only.
- Where an order is made under this section by the High Court or a judge
thereof for the production of the body of a person who is under
sentence of death, the High Court or such judge thereof shall further
order that the execution of the said sentence of death shall be
deferred until after the body of such person has been produced before
the High Court and the lawfulness of his detention has been
determined and if, after such deferment, the detention of such person
is determined to be lawful, the High Court shall appoint a day
for the execution of the said sentence of death and that sentence
shall have effect with the substitution of the day so appointed for
the day originally fixed for the execution thereof.
- Nothing in this section, however, shall be invoked to prohibit, control,
or interfere with any act of the Defence Forces during the existence of a
state of war or armed rebellion.
- Provision may be made by law for the refusal of bail by a court to
a person charged with a serious offence where it is reasonably
considered necessary to prevent the commission of a serious offence
by that person.
- The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly
entered save in accordance with law.
- The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights,
subject to public order and morality:--
- The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and
The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such
grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to
ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the
press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of
expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not
be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or
indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in
accordance with law.
- The right of the citizens to assemble peaceably and without arms.
Provision may be made by law to prevent or control meetings which
are determined in accordance with law to be calculated to cause a
breach of the peace or to be a danger or nuisance to the general
public and to prevent or control meetings in the vicinity of
either House of the Oireachtas.
- The right of the citizens to form associations and unions.
Laws, however, may be enacted for the regulation and control in
the public interest of the exercise of the foregoing right.
- Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations
and unions and the right of free assembly may be exercised shall
contain no political, religious or class discrimination.
- The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental
unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing
inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all
- The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its
constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and
as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
- In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home,
woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot
- The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be
obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their
duties in the home.
- The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of
Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against
- A Court designated by law may grant of a dissolution of
marriage where, but only where, it is satisfied that-
- at the date of the institution of the proceedings, the spouses
have lived apart from one another for a period of, or periods
amounting to, at least four years during the previous five years,
- there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between
- such provision as the Court considers proper having regard
to the circumstances exists or will be made for the spouses,
any children of either or both of them and any other person
prescribed by law, and
- any further conditions prescribed by law are complied with.
- No person whose marriage has been dissolved under the civil law of any
other State but is a subsisting valid marriage under the law for the
time being in force within the jurisdiction of the Government and
Parliament established by this Constitution shall be capable of
contracting a valid marriage within that jurisdiction during the
lifetime of the other party to the marriage so dissolved.
- The State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child
is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of
parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral,
intellectual, physical and social education of their children.
- Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in
private schools or in schools recognised or established by the State.
- The State shall not oblige parents in violation of their conscience and
lawful preference to send their children to schools established by the
State, or to any particular type of school designated by the State.
- The State shall, however, as guardian of the common good, require in
view of actual conditions that the children receive a certain minimum
education. moral. intellectual and social.
- The State shall provide for free primary education and shall endeavour to
supplement and give reasonable aid to private and corporate educational
initiative, and, when the public good requires it, provide other
educational facilities or institutions with due regard, however, for the
rights of parents, especially in the matter of religious and moral
- In exceptional cases, where the parents for physical or moral reasons fail
in their duty towards their children, the State as guardian of the common
good, by appropriate means shall endeavour to supply the place of the
parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible
rights of the child.
- The State acknowledges that man, in virtue of his rational being, has
the natural right, antecedent to positive law, to the private ownership
of external goods.
- The State accordingly guarantees to pass no law attempting to abolish the
right of private ownership or the general right to transfer, bequeath,
and inherit property.
- The State recognises, however, that the exercise of the rights mentioned
in the foregoing provisions of this Article ought, in civil society, to
be regulated by the principles of social justice.
- The State, accordingly, may as occasion requires delimit by law the
exercise of the said rights with a view to reconciling their exercise
with the exigencies of the common good.
- The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty
God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour
- Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion
are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.
- The State guarantees not to endow any religion.
- The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on
the ground of religious profession, belief or status.
- Legislation providing State aid for schools shall not discriminate
between schools under the management of different religious
denominations, nor be such as to affect prejudicially the right of any
child to attend a school receiving public money without attending
religious instruction at that school.
- Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its own
affairs, own, acquire and administer property, movable and immovable, and
maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes .
- The property of any religious denomination or any educational institution
shall not be diverted save for necessary works of public utility and on
payment of compensation.