The Origins of the Irish Constitution, 1928-1941
The Constitution of 1937 represents the culmination of a ‘constitutional revolution’. It was an innovative exercise in democracy, but with one fundamental flaw: Article 50 provided that it could be amended by the government without reference to the people. ‘The Origins of the Irish Constitution’, published 75 years after Ireland’s first constitution was completed, unravels the complex legal and philosophical problems that arose during the drafting process. Judge Gerard Hogan has drawn together a comprehensive selection of key documents covering the period 1929 to 1941 and written extensive commentary and annotation as a guide. Spanning 865 pages, the volume binds together a treasure house of archival material including drafts, letters and memoranda exchanged between Eamon De Valera and the many other actors and figureheads involved, from state and church. De Valera’s pivotal role in the drafting is revealed - not least in the reproduction of a sample of the Constitution he meticulously handwrote on squared copybook paper - the influence of the church is illustrated, and an explanation is offered for the enshrining of a subordinate role for women in the Constitution. This landmark publication will be of interest in particular to constitutional historians, but provides worthwhile reading for any lawyer, politician, commentator or churchperson.