THOUSANDS OF OBSOLETE laws, passed in Ireland before independence, are being repealed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.
The Statue Law Revision Bill 2012, which repeals an estimated 2,900 Acts, is the most extensive statute law revision measure “ever attempted anywhere in the world” according to Minister Howlin.
The repealed Acts were enacted between 1751 and Irish independence in 1922. The types of old laws being repealed include those relating to the conferring of citizenship to non-nationals, at a time when Irish ministers had no power to confer naturalisation.
Old private divorce Acts, designed to legally dissolve marriages when no divorce jurisdiction existed in Ireland, are also being done away with.
“The Bill will specify around 790 pieces of old legislation which are still relevant and which are being specifically kept in force. For example, the Saint Stephen’s Green (Dublin) Act 1877 which regulates the Green will be specifically kept in force by the Bill, as will another Local and Personal Act of that year, the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act 1877 which established the present National Library and National Museum,” said Howlin.
As part of the present programme of statute law revision, other Bills have previously been analysed – such a Public and Private Acts to 1750 and Local and Personal Acts up to 1850. The new Bill will cover all remaining obsolete Local and Personal Acts and Private Acts passed prior to 1922, meaning only a limited number of relevant Acts will remain in force.
A list of the pre-independence legislation that falls under the scope of the forthcoming Bill is available on the website of the Office of the Attorney General.