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#Council of State

# council-of-state - Sunday 29 December, 2019

Irish officials were worried European leaders would refuse to attend meetings in hotels 

The Department of Foreign Affairs warned it could cost £2 million to hire private facilities for meetings during Ireland’s EC presidency.

# council-of-state - Thursday 5 December, 2019

Five men appear in court charged with conspiring to murder Hutch family member

Each of the accused men are charged with taking various roles with the intention of helping with the murder of Patrick ‘Patsy’ Hutch.

# council-of-state - Thursday 4 April, 2019

Activist Sinéad Burke has been appointed to the Council of State

Sindy Joyce, the first Traveller in Ireland to graduate with a PhD, has also been appointed to the Council.

# council-of-state - Wednesday 30 December, 2015

After calling in help, President Higgins has signed 'rushed' new asylum laws

The Arás confirmed his decision in a brief statement today.

# council-of-state - Tuesday 29 December, 2015

There were some familiar faces at this morning's Council of State meeting

President Higgins called the meeting to discuss asylum laws that were ‘rushed’ through the Dáil.

# council-of-state - Wednesday 23 December, 2015

Michael D calls in Council of State over law that was rushed through the Dáil

Michael D Higgins could now refer the International Protection Bill to the Supreme Court.

# council-of-state - Monday 29 December, 2014

Explainer: Why Michael D Higgins signed water charges into law

The president’s hands were essentially tied by the Constitution.

'I don't think the Government knows how serious this is'

Sinn Féin has hit out at Government for allowing the Water Services Bill to be signed into law.

# council-of-state - Sunday 28 December, 2014

President Michael D Higgins has signed the Water Services Bill

Water charges are now the law of the land.

# council-of-state - Tuesday 11 March, 2014

'A denial of people's rights': Sinn Féin wants a new junior minister for the diaspora

Gerry Adams has called for a raft of changes to how Irish abroad are treated here.

# council-of-state - Tuesday 30 July, 2013

Some welcome President passing abortion bill, others not so much

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore described it as a “key milestone”, while the Pro Life Campaign said it was a “very sad day”.

President signs Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill into law

The move came after the President convened a meeting of the Council of State to discuss the bill yesterday.

# council-of-state - Monday 29 July, 2013

In pics: President Michael D Higgins concludes meeting with the Council of State Abortion Bill This post contains images

In pics: President Michael D Higgins concludes meeting with the Council of State

The President has not yet made an announcement on whether he’ll sign the the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill into law or refer it to the Supreme Court.

The 5 at 5: Monday

5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock…

Tánaiste will swear oath ‘in the presence of Almighty God’ despite being agnostic

Eamon Gilmore will take the oath required of all members of the Council of State today despite being agnostic and lobbying from Atheist Ireland.

So what happened when the Council of State was convened in the past?

Today will be the 27th time the Council of State has been convened to discuss legislation – but it’s not the first time abortion laws have been discussed.

# council-of-state - Saturday 27 July, 2013

Explainer: What is the Council of State and why is it discussing the abortion bill?

The Council of State is a little-used and largely unknown body but it takes centre stage as it discusses the abortion bill next week. explains what it’s all about…

# council-of-state - Wednesday 24 July, 2013

President Higgins to convene Council of State over abortion bill

Áras an Uachtaráin has said that a meeting will be held next Monday where members of the Council and the President will consider the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

# council-of-state - Friday 7 June, 2013

Hogan appoints five-member panel to oversee Seanad referendum

The Referendum Commission will be chaired by Justice Elizabeth Dunne, whenever the Oireachtas passes the referendum bill.

# council-of-state - Thursday 6 June, 2013

Explainer: What else will change if we scrap the Seanad?

The formal legislation to change the Constitution and delete the Seanad is out today. So what’s in it?

# council-of-state - Sunday 22 April, 2012

From The Daily Edge Fantasy films/programmes: Why so serious? Fantasy Island This post contains a poll

Fantasy films/programmes: Why so serious?

Sssshhh don’t tell them it’s not real…

# council-of-state - Friday 6 January, 2012

The Daily Fix: Friday

In tonight’s fix: Some parents to lose child benefit; continued rows over pensions debacle; Ray Grehan bankrupt – in England – and all the other bits you may have missed.

President Higgins announces his Council of State

Seven new advisors have been appointed to the Council.

# council-of-state - Friday 4 November, 2011

In pictures: What are Bertie and Brian doing in the Áras? Bertie N Brian This post contains images

In pictures: What are Bertie and Brian doing in the Áras?

The boys/former taoisigh are back in town for a ‘thank you’ reception by President McAleese for her Council of State.

# council-of-state - Monday 17 October, 2011

Davis promises to appoint intellectually disabled person to Council of State

Mary Davis tells an Inclusion Ireland debate that she would appoint a person with intellectual disabilities to the Council of State.

# council-of-state - Thursday 26 May, 2011

Special Olympics chief Mary Davis announces presidential bid

The managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia says she will seek the nomination of four councils to run in October.

# council-of-state - Tuesday 21 December, 2010

President approves banking reform bill after Council of State meeting

President McAleese signs the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill into law after convening the Council of State to discuss its constitutionality.

# council-of-state - Saturday 18 December, 2010

President summons Council of State to discuss banking Bill

The President may refer the new Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill to the Supreme Court if she thinks it constitutional.

The 9 at 9: Saturday

Nine things you need to know by 9am: more ‘secret’ bank bonuses, the return of the cold snap, and growing threats of war in Korea.

# council-of-state - Monday 19 July, 2010

PRESIDENT MARY MCALEESE has signed the Civil Partnership Bill into law this morning, according to the Department of Justice. The enactment of the bill – now an Act – dashes hopes of the bill’s opponents, but means the Act’s constitutionality may still be appealed.

# council-of-state - Sunday 18 July, 2010

PROTESTORS HAVE CONVENED outside Áras an Úachtaráin this afternoon in an effort to convince President Mary McAleese not to sign the Civil Partnership Bill into law. McAleese must either sign the Bill before Wednesday or refer it to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

RUMOURS ARE MOUNTING that President Mary McAleese may convene the Council of State to discuss the constitutionality of the Civil Partnership Bill.

The Bill – which past its final hurdle in Leinster House last Thursday week with passage through the Seanad – was presented to the President last Wednesday.

McAleese is required to sign the Bill into law on the 5th, 6th, or 7th day after it is presented to her – meaning she can sign it any time between Monday and Wednesday of this week.

It is widely believed, however, that McAleese may exercise a provision in the Constitution and convene the Council of State for a discussion on whether certain clauses of the Bill are in conflict with the constitution.

In particular it is understood that a clause relating to co-habitation and how it may impact current law on heterosexual couples will come under review.

It is also reported that a high-ranking senior counsel has been advised not to book any holidays in case the bill is referred to the Supreme Court.

If the Council of State agrees that there may be some conflict, it can refer the Bill to the Supreme Court for a final ruling on it. Should the Supreme Court find the Bill acceptable, it would then be bulletproof from future legal challenge.

The Council of State is comprised of:

  • the heads of the Supreme Court and High Court
  • the Taoiseach and Tánaiste
  • the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil and Cathaoirleach of the Seanad
  • the Attorney-General
  • seven presidential nominees
  • any past living Presidents
  • any past living Chief Justices of the Supreme Court
  • any past living Taoisigh

Supporters of the Bill have welcomed the move, with gay rights advocate Panti noting that any Supreme Court ruling would pre-emptively deny opponents of the group the chance to prepare a legal challenge of their own.

There remains some confusion, however, over whether the Supreme Court can rule individual sections of the Bill out of order and still approve the remainder as constitutional, or whether it is required to throw out the entire Bill.