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Title: Constitutionalising socio-economic rights in Ireland
Author: Fay, Patrick Vincent
ISNI:       0000 0001 3458 5092
Awarding Body: Queen's University of Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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There is an antipathy to constitutionalising socio-economic rights in Ireland among' senior judges and politicians. The arguments advanced are based mainly on alleged differences between socio-economic rights and the traditionai civil and political rights. .An analysis shows that the distinction between social and economic rights and the traditional civil and political rights is not as simple as is often supposed. Further, the two sets ofrights are interdependent and indivisible. Most of the rights protected by the Constitution of Ireland are traditional civil and political rights. The socio-economic right to free primary education is enshrined in the Constitution ofIreland and has been the subject of much litigation in recent years. The Supreme Court regards itself as constrained in cases involving socio-economic rights by the doctrine of the separation of powers and the argument about the distortion of democracy (both based on the alleged character of socio-economic rights) and is prepared only in the most exceptional of cases to issue a mandatory order against the Government to enforce a socio-economic right. The views of the Constitution Review Group (1996) and of the Government are broadly similar to those of the Supreme Court. The arguments advanced against constitutionalisation are assessed and problems with the doctrine ofthe separation of powers evaluated. Accordingly, the arguments advanced by the judges, politicians and Constitution Review Group are rebutted, and the courts' role as guardians of constitutional rights emphasised. The influence of international instruments, principally that of the European Convention on Human Rights is analysed and some possible judicial remedies proposed. To demonstrate that such rights can be enforced judicially, the experience of the South African Constitutional Court in adjudicating entrenched socio-economic rights is examined. The conclusion is that in theory, as well as in practice, such rights can be enforced by the courts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available