Now showing 1 - 10 of 43
  • Publication
    A Single Currency for the British Empire?: A Warning for the Euro
    (History Ireland, 2013)
    Debates concerning the future of the Euro and the recent EU fiscal treaty might seem to be without precedent in Irish and European history. This is not so. Proposals for the creation of currency unions and for dealing with the economic challenges that inevitably follow have been debated for over two millennia. Examples include monetary unions between city states of ancient Greece, the attempts to coordinate the currencies of nineteenth century German states and the Latin Monetary Union that existed in continental Europe between 1866 and 1927.
  • Publication
    20|20 Centenary: How the compromise of the ‘Partition Act’ created a long legacy for Ireland, north and south
    (Irish Independent, 2020-12-12)
    Legal and historical analysis of the Government of Ireland Act 1920.
  • Publication
    The Irish Question and the Evolution of British Imperial Law, 1916-1922
    (Clarus Press, 2016-12-15)
    By the early twentieth century Dominion status seemed ideally suited as the answer to the perennial ‘Irish question’. It offered Ireland a generous measure of autonomy while maintaining the territorial integrity of the British Empire. Nevertheless, the prospect of granting Dominion status to Ireland remained little more than a fantasy on the eve of the outbreak of the First World War. This reality was altered by two parallel historical developments. The first of these was the 1916 Easter rising that killed any possibility of an effective home rule settlement for the entire island of Ireland. The second was a rapid acceleration in the evolution of the self-governing Dominions of the Empire towards greater autonomy in the constitutional sphere. In the aftermath of the First World War these two developments came together in the signing of the 1921 Treaty that permitted the Irish Free State to emerge with the status of a self-governing Dominion, the same constitutional status held by Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. This article will examine the legal and constitutional developments that took place between 1914 and 1922 that removed the possibility of an ‘Irish Dominion’ from the realms of fantasy and allowed it to play a vital role in the emergence of the self-governing Irish state. It also examines the important role of Hessel Duncan Hall’s book The British Commonwealth of Nations (1920) in influencing this process.
  • Publication
    Law without loyalty: The abolition of the Irish Appeal to the Privy Council
    (Thomson Reuters - Round Hall, 2002)
    Considers the requirements in the Anglo Irish Treaty 1921 on the appeal to the Privy Council, the resulting provision in the Constitution and  Irish petitions heard by the Privy Council. Examines the Erne Fishery case and the Bill proposing the removal of the right to appeal to the Privy Council. Discusses the continuation of the appeal in the Erne Fishery case in spite of an amendment to the Bill to make it retrospective and the Privy Council's declaration that the abolition of the right of appeal was lawful.
  • Publication
    British involvement in the creation of the constitution of the Irish Free State
    (Round Hall, 2008-11)
    Existing accounts of the British contribution to the drafting of the first Irish Constitution tend to focus exclusively on matters relating to the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921. This article examines the advice given by the British government on the provisions of the 1922 Constitution that were not directly connected to the demands of the Treaty. The British provided their less experienced Irish counterparts with constructive advice on such diverse matters as the composition of the Irish cabinet, the dissolution of the Dáil, the granting of titles of honour, the use of terminology in the Irish language and on the winding up of the 'Dáil courts'. This article notes that many of the amendments made in these areas were replicated in the present Irish Constitution of 1937. It concludes that this aspect of the British involvement in the drafting of the first Irish Constitution has proved more durable than concerns over many of the symbols of sovereignty that loomed so large in 1922.
  • Publication
    Lord Cave, the British Empire and Irish Independence - A Test of Judicial Integrity
    (Taylor and Francis, 2012-05)
    This article examines the career of Lord Cave and his influence on the history of the Irish Free State within the British Empire. Cave was a controversial figure in Anglo Irish politics in the early twentieth century. Nevertheless, he held the office of lord chancellor for much of the 1920s and presided over a number of important appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council emanating from the Irish Free State. Cave also played an influential role during the Imperial conference of 1926. This article argues that Cave’s pre-occupation with maintaining the integrity of the British Empire influenced decisions in a number of key appeals to the Privy Council that directly or indirectly affected the Irish Free State. It also examines the conclusions of other scholars who maintain that the history of the Irish appeal shows that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was occasionally influenced by political policies pursued by the British government. This article challenges these conclusions. It argues that the decisions used to support these contentions were actually influenced by the personal views of Lord Cave and not by policies embraced by the British government. This supports the conclusion that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the early twentieth century was, after all, an independent court of law.
  • Publication
    Book review: Lawyers, the Law and History. By Felix M. Larkin and N.M. Dawson (eds) [Dublin: Four Courts Press. 2013. 320 pp. Hardback €55.00. ISBN 978-1-84682-244-5.]
    (Cambridge University Press, 2014-07-17)
    On 30 June 1922 Irish legal history went up in smoke. It was wrenched apart and incinerated in a great explosion of munitions. The destruction of the Irish Public Records Office at Dublin’s Four Courts marked the end of the first act in a tragedy of fratricidal folly known as the Irish civil war (1922-1923). One contemporary eyewitness described the remains of the Public Records Office in the moments after the explosion as a ruin "littered with chunks of masonry and smouldering records". The remains of the collection of legal documents that dated as far back as the thirteenth century were reduced to fragments of paper "gyrating in the upper air like seagulls" (Ernie O’Malley, The Singing Flame, Dublin, 1978, pp. 114-5).
  • Publication
    Embedding the Family in the Irish Constitution
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-06)
    The Irish Constitution of 1937 devotes a substantial part of its provisions on fundamental rights to the position of the family in Irish society. Article 41 of the 1937 Constitution has proved to be one of the most controversial provisions in that document. Some commentators accuse it of reflecting Catholic social values, providing unwelcome stereotypes on the position of women in Irish society and promoting the marital family at the expense of an increasing number of non-marital families. Others argue that these provisions are typical of constitutions of the 1920s and 1930s from all parts of Europe and, consequently, should not necessarily be seen as the product of Catholic social teachings.