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Changes the Mid West Humanists seek in the Constitution of Ireland – decided at meetings 20 June and 18 July 2012

This post dates from 23 July 2012, but I added a bit from the meeting on 15 August – on Article 6.

The meetings of the Mid West Humanists in the Absolute Hotel Limerick on 20 June and 18 July 2012 examined the Constitution of Ireland, examined its articles that include parts that are unfair to people of no religion and are contrary to a secular society and government.
The Mid West Humanists seek to change some parts of some articles.

This is so that groups of at least 2 Mid West Humanists will go to every Mid West TD’s clinic, over the following months, to show them the list of changes we seek, and to explain why we seek them.

Here are the articles which the meetings thought ought to be changed. I list each article first as it is in force now. Text that the Mid West Humanists want to be deleted is in italic letters. The text as it is today has an asterisk * where our suggested new version has extra words. After each article I list the same article as the meetings thought it ought to be, and any new words the Mid West Humanists want to be added are in bold letters.

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Preamble to the Constitution (no number)

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,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

We, the people of Éire,
Gratefully remembering the heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

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Article 6 – Source of power of the state.
We are only concerned with part 1 of Article 6 – power is said to be derived under God

1.  All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

1.  All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.

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Article 12 – The President.
We are only concerned with part 8 of Article 12 – the oath or declaration that the President must make on the day of taking office

8.  The President shall enter upon his office by taking and subscribing publicly, in the presence of members of both Houses of the Oireachtas, of Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court, and other public personages, the following declaration:
In the presence of Almighty God I, (name of person)  ,do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

8.  The President shall enter upon his office by taking and subscribing publicly, in the presence of members of both Houses of the Oireachtas, of Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court, and other public personages, the following declaration:
“I, (name of person) ,do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland.”

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Article 31 – the Council of State (a group that gives advice to the President)
We are only concerned with part 4 of Article 31 – the oath or declaration that the Council member must make on their first day attending a meeting of the Council

4.    Every member of the Council of State shall at the first meeting thereof which he attends as a member take and subscribe a declaration in the following form:
In the presence of Almighty God I, (name of person) , do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfil my duties as a member of the Council of State.”

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

4.    Every member of the Council of State shall at the first meeting thereof which he attends as a member take and subscribe a declaration in the following form:
“I, (name of person) , do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfil my duties as a member of the Council of State.”

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Article 34 – the Courts
We are only concerned with Part 5, sub-part 1 of Article 34 – the oath or declaration that a judge must make on the day of taking office

5.    1° Every person appointed a judge under this Constitution shall make and subscribe the following declaration:
In the presence of Almighty God I, (name of person) , do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my knowledge and power execute the office of Chief Justice (or as the case may be) without fear or favour, affection or ill-will towards any man, and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws. May God direct and sustain me.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

5.    1° Every person appointed a judge under this Constitution shall make and subscribe the following declaration:
“I, (name of person) , do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my knowledge and power execute the office of Chief Justice (or as the case may be) without fear or favour, affection or ill-will towards any man, and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws.”

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Article 40 – Personal Rights
We are only concerned with Part 6 of Article 40 – rights other than life, liberty, and property

6.    1° The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:
i.            The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.
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 State.
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
ii.            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.
iii.            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.
2° 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.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

6.    1° The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order:
i.            The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.
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 the authority of the State.
ii.            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.
iii.            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.
2° 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.

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Article 42 – Education

1.    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.
2.    Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in private schools or in schools recognised or established by the State.
3.    1° 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.
2° 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.
4.    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 formation.
5.    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.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

1.    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 moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children.
2.    Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in private schools or in schools recognised or established by the State.
3.    1° 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.
2° 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.
4.    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.
5.    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.

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Article 44 – Religion

1.    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 religion.
2.    1° Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion* are, subject to* public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.
2° The State guarantees not to endow any religion*.
3° The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status*.
4° 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.
5° 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.
    6° 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.

After the Mid West Humanists’ proposed change

2.    1° Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion, or no religion, are, subject to the rights of other people, guaranteed to every citizen.
2° The State guarantees not to endow any religion, either directly or indirectly.
3° The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status, or no religion.
4° Legislation providing State aid for schools shall not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious denominations or none, 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.

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Epilogue (no number)

Dochum Glóire Dé agus Onóra na hÉireann

The Mid West Humanists propose to remove the epilogue entirely.

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