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Irish Constitution

The Irish Constitution (Bunreacht na hÉireann) recognises and declares that people living in Ireland have certain fundamental personal rights. These rights are natural human rights – they come from being human and are confirmed and protected by the Constitution.

Not every fundamental right that you possess is set out in the Constitution – you have many personal rights that are not specifically stated in the Constitution. These rights may be derived or implied from the Constitution. For example, your right to marry is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, however, the courts have found that it is a fundamental personal right.

Fundamental rights are not absolute – they can be limited or restricted by the Oireachtas on the grounds, for example, of the common good or public order. Every constitutional right has the same status and value. If there is a conflict between the constitutional rights of individuals, the courts will look at all the circumstances and weigh all of the factors to decide which constitutional right is more important in that particular case.

Your constitutional rights include:
  • Equality before the law
  • The right to life
  • The right to trial by jury
  • The right to bodily integrity
  • Freedom to travel
  • Personal liberty
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of association
  • Religious liberty
  • The rights of the family
  • Property rights
  • The right to earn a livelihood
  • Inviolability of dwelling
  • The right to fair procedures
  • The right to privacy

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