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Article 44 Religion Notes

Irish BCL Notes > Irish Constitutional Law Notes

This is an extract of our Article 44 Religion document, which we sell as part of our Irish Constitutional Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Trinity College Dublin students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Irish Constitutional Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Article 44 - Religion Freedom of conscience and free practice and profession of religion
? McGee v Attorney General (SC)
? Walsh J: Given that religious context in which the guarantee of the freedom of conscience appears, it means simply that no person shall directly or indirectly be coerced to act contrary to his conscience in so far as the practice of religion is concerned and, subject to public order and morality, is free to profess and practice the religion of his choice in accordance with his conscience.
? It does not guarantee the right to live in accordance with one's conscience subject to public order and morality - thus it does not protect a right to use contraception so long as one's conscience is at ease with this.
? Murphy v IRTC (SC)
? Applicant challenged the constitutionality of a law which prevented him from broadcasting advertisements on television or radio.
? Barrington J: the section is not an attack on the citizen's right to practice his religion as it does not discriminate between religions nor does it allow for ads which attack certain religions - rather it is a limitation of the citizen's right to practice his religion.
? The right to profess one's religion extends to the right to convert one's fellow citizens and influence the evolution of society.
? In this case the restriction is minimalist and justified - it prohibits the applicant only from advancing his views from paid advertisement on radio or television.
? People (DPP) v Draper (CCA)
? The appellant was convicted on two counts of malicious damage to religious statues.
? The acts were carried out by the applicant believing that he had been sent to God to do so.
? Held that, the court was not questioning the sincerity of the appellants beliefs, but his freedom to practice his beliefs was expressly subject to public order and morality and the protection of other individual's private property was necessary to ensure the protection of the public order. The principle of non-discrimination
? Quinn's Supermarket v Attorney General (SC)
? A ministerial order exempted Kosher butchers from a ban on evening opening hours.
? Walsh J: Article 44 does not require that individuals be discriminated against on the basis of their religion - the State is precluded from making any distinction on the basis of religious profession, belief or status.
? In this case, the measure challenged is a discrimination as per Article 44.
? However, in the absence of this measure, Jews would be unable to acquire Kosher meat between the hours of sunset Friday and sunset Saturday and this would be an interference with the free profession and practice of their religion.
? This presents a conflict between the guarantees of free profession of and nondiscrimination bases on religion.
? Given that the Constitution reflects a firm conviction that we are a religious people (Preamble, Article 44.1) any measure which makes a discrimination on the basis of religion, but which is necessary to enable the free profession and practice of religion cannot be invalid having regard to the provisions of the Constitution - this is because the purpose of the non-discrimination guarantee is to facilitate the free profession of religion.
? However this would not be the case where the religious precepts which the law seeks to make allowance for are not a binding part of the religion.
? Re Employment Equality Bill 1996 (SC)

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