COVID-19: Can the Oireachtas Legislate During the Pandemic?
Seth Barrett Tillman, COVID-19, Can the Oireachtas Legislate During the Pandemic?, 38(7) IRISH LAW TIMES 94 (2020)
1 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 1, 2020
Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the Ceann Comhairle, has informed his colleagues, that in light of “a very serious constitutional problem,” the Seanad will be unable to pass legislation after Sunday. He is supported by advice offered from the Attorney General and the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach. The single argument which has been put forward in public in support of the Ceann Comhairle’s position is not entirely frivolous. It is the sort of argument beloved by legal academics giving final examinations based on fictitious fact patterns. Such arguments usually do not play prominent roles in the legal advice offered by officers of state, senior law officers, and highly placed civil servants during national and international emergencies. I respectfully suggest the Attorney General has erred, and the Ceann Comhairle erred in relying on such advice.
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