On each occasion in Ireland when it is proposed to have a referendum to amend the Constitution, the Bill which grounds this process is required to give the text of the proposed amendment in English and in Irish. The Irish text is necessitated by the special status the Irish language enjoys as the first official language, the national language and indeed the authoritative text of the Constitution in the case of conflict.
The fact that the Irish texts prevails in the case of conflict between the two texts is well established and it is submitted in many instances justified given the more careful drafting process used for the Irish text in 1937. What was perhaps not envisaged however was the position with regards to amendments the wording of which tend to be agreed and finalised in English and subsequently translated to Irish. This presents the added complication of the Irish translation of the English text being the authoritative version in the case of a Court finding that there is a conflict between the texts. I have argued elsewhere that Ireland would benefit greatly from the introduction of co-drafting which would not only improve the quality of the Irish text, but as experience from Wales and Canada has shown, significantly improves the quality of the English text too. As things stand however the Irish text Continue reading “Legal Analysis of the Children's Referendum: Some Perspectives on the Irish Wording”