The judicial interpretation of Article 44

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Halpin, Rebecca
Issue Date
Bachelor of Laws
Dublin Business School
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Article 44 of Bunreacht na hEireann provides for the Constitutional protection of religion and outlines the permissible levels of State endorsement. It proved to be one of the most difficult articles to write, with the drafters attempting to create a provision which recognised Roman Catholicism as the faith of the great majority of citizens while not creating a theocratic Constitution which did not adequately protect or afford deference to the rights of religious minorities. While often criticised as an overtly Catholic document, the Constitution in fact provided a quite pluralist protection of religion despite the recognition of the special position of the Roman Catholic Church. Considerable attempts were made to create an inclusive Article 44, and it received full support from the leaders of minority religions in Ireland. The majority of complaints regarding the article came from the more devout Catholic groups who wished the article's wording to go much further in its legal recognition of the Catholic Church and its place in Irish society.