To Ourselves, Article Twenty Five

1.    As soon as any Bill, other than a Bill expressed to be a Bill containing a proposal for the amendment of this Constitution, shall have been passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, the Taoiseach shall present it to the President for his signature and for promulgation by him as a law in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

One of the Presidents other functions is the signing of laws and bills.

2.    1° Save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, every Bill so presented to the President for his signature and for promulgation by him as a law shall be signed by the President not earlier than the fifth and not later than the seventh day after the date on which the Bill shall have been presented to him.

The five-day waiting period allows the President to have ample time top view and consider any bill placed before him/her. As it is, the President can only do so for a maximum of seven days before the bill has to be dealt with. As its rare for any law to be so crucial as to require immediate signing, this seems reasonable.

2° At the request of the Government, with the prior concurrence of Seanad Éireann, the President may sign any Bill the subject of such request on a date which is earlier than the fifth day after such date as aforesaid.

3.    Every Bill the time for the consideration of which by Seanad Éireann shall have been abridged under Article 24 of this Constitution shall be signed by the President on the day on which such Bill is presented to him for signature and promulgation as a law.

But there are ways around it, namely in the event of an emergency (defined by the Oireachtas) and of the Seanad has had its deliberation time cut. Again, rare to see, but a vital inclusion.

4.    1° Every Bill shall become and be law as on and from the day on which it is signed by the President under this Constitution, and shall, unless the contrary intention appears, come into operation on that day.

2° Every Bill signed by the President under this Constitution shall be promulgated by him as a law by the publication by his direction of a notice in the Iris Oifigiúil stating that the Bill has become law.

Once the bill is signed it is law and is recorded as such.

3° Every Bill shall be signed by the President in the text in which it was passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, and if a Bill is so passed or deemed to have been passed in both the official languages, the President shall sign the text of the Bill in each of those languages.

4° Where the President signs the text of a Bill in one only of the official languages, an official translation shall be issued in the other official language.

This maintains the status of Irish as the first language while allowing for the translation of bills into English.

5° As soon as may be after the signature and promulgation of a Bill as a law, the text of such law which was signed by the President or, where the President has signed the text of such law in each of the official languages, both the signed texts shall be enrolled for record in the office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court, and the text, or both the texts, so enrolled shall be conclusive evidence of the provisions of such law.

Just housekeeping really, making sure that the legislative process, following the signing of  a bill, is rounded out.

6° In case of conflict between the texts of a law enrolled under this section in both the official languages, the text in the national language shall prevail.

Irish ftw basically. If the two translations of a bill clash in wording, the Irish one takes precedence.

5.    1° It shall be lawful for the Taoiseach, from time to time as occasion appears to him to require, to cause to be prepared under his supervision a text (in both the official languages) of this Constitution as then in force embodying all amendments theretofore made therein.

2° A copy of every text so prepared, when authenticated by the signatures of the Taoiseach and the Chief Justice, shall be signed by the President and shall be enrolled for record in the office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

3° The copy so signed and enrolled which is for the time being the latest text so prepared shall, upon such enrolment, be conclusive evidence of this Constitution as at the date of such enrolment and shall for that purpose supersede all texts of this Constitution of which copies were so enrolled.

4° In case of conflict between the texts of any copy of this Constitution enrolled under this section, the text in the national language shall prevail.

This section gives the Taoiseach the responsibility of keeping, I suppose, the proper version of the constitution from which all decisions are made. This version has to be overseen and approved by other officials, including the President, and carries the same emphasis on the dominance of Irish.

Now much to say on that, but I’d like to point out that the copy of the constitution available through the Taoiseach’s website is around 5 years out of date at this point and lacks any of the subsequent amendments. Maybe someone should show this section to Brian Cowen.

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