It may seem odd to have such an blog on a Health Related page.  Our Basic Human Rights and Constitution were not taught to us in school.  We need to know our basic Rights.  If you just want to know the main juicy bits jump down to the Bold and Italic Writing.

In Ireland we have a Constitution which, in the wording, sets out the Fundamental Rights of Every person living in Ireland, including Non-Irish Citizens.  The Constitution can only be changed by the people through a Referendum.  Most recently the Constitution was changed to recognise gay marriage and the right to have a pregnancy terminated.

Article 40 sets out the Personal Rights of each Person Residing in Ireland:

  • The right to be treated equal before the law.  This removes any acceptance of discrimination in legal judgements.
  • The right to life.  This fundamental right means the constitution must be changed if we are to allow assisted death in Ireland.  This was recently highlighted by Vicky Phelan, the cervical cancer warrior.  Ms Phelan also highlighted the
    Bunracht na hÉireann

    Irish Constitution

    cervical smear scandal in Ireland.

  • The right to Freedom and Liberty, except in accordance to law.  The current travel restrictions were legislated for respect this fundamental right in our constitution.  Note here that the State, or Government, may restrict your travel abroad for the purposes of National Security.  You have the right to travel to obtain a passport.
  • You have the Right to Freely Express your Opinions and Convictions.  This right can be limited to maintain public order.  This right prevents you from publishing any material with a view to overthrowing the state, defaming another person, or indecent material.
  • The State is also obliged by the Constitution to make sure that media such as the radio, the press and the cinema are not used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.  This Obligation by the State, or Government, may be used in terms of censorship of social media in order to maintain authority.
  • Freedom of Assembly:  This gives protection to your private property against trespass.  This fundamental right is there to allow peaceful gatherings in public but not unlawful or gatherings such as riots.  Another fundamental right is to be alone in your dwelling, and not to have unlawful entry into your dwelling, except under strict legislation.
  • Freedom of Unions and Association is outlined in our Constitution as a right
  • The Right to Fair Proceedures:  The courts and all public bodies or persons making decisions that affect your constitutional rights must treat you fairly. Two of the essential components of fair procedures in this context are:
    • The person making the decision that affects you should not be biased or appear to be biased.
    • You must be given an adequate opportunity to present your case. You must be informed of the matter and you must be given a chance to comment on the material put forward by the other side.
  • The Right to Bodily Integrity:  You have a right not to have your body or person unjustifiably interfered with. A person can only interfere with your body with a valid justification and in a proportionate manner. Similarly, you have a right not to be subjected to torture, inhumane or degrading treatment.

“Proportionate manner” is an important phrase and there is further legislation for this and other parts of the Constitution.  In fact, all legislation must be deemed constitutional before it can be enacted.  In this part you can put Right to Fair Proceedure and Right to Bodily Integrity together.  Therefore public bodies cannot enforce any interference with your right to bodily integrity without valid justification.  A sample cannot be forceably taken from you without certain serious conditions being met. A Needle cannot be put into your arm without your consent.  Piercing your skin with an object cannot be done without your consent or it may be deemed assault.  This is legislated for under the Non Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act 1997.  I have been told of adults and babies have had injections administered within the blink of an eye an not consented to it.  

  • You have the fundamental Right to a Trial by Judge and Jury.
  • you have a Right to PrivacyNot specifically outlined in the Constitution but recognised by the Irish Courts. It has sometimes been described as the right “to be let alone” in private settings.  Private written communications and telephone conversations cannot be deliberately, consciously and unjustifiably interfered withYour have a right to have your medical details remain confidentiality.  There may be certain exceptions to this where there is danger to others, for example children.
  • The Right to Earn a Living:  The State has a general duty to protect your right to work and earn a livelihood from unjust attack.

Other right outlined under the constitution include the Rights of Family, the right to educate your children.

The Constitution of Ireland is the most basic fundamental set of rights given to us, the Irish People.  There is much other international and European Law which we do not know about.  All of these laws protect our Basic Rights as Humans.  To spend a few minutes to read a synopsis of the legislation is nourishing your own education, knowing your rights and gives you freedom of choice.  YES YOU HAVE A CHOICE!!

If you take nothing else from this just know that you have

A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT UNDER IRISH CONSTITUTIONAL LAW TO PRIVACY:  This means you DO NOT HAVE TO DISCUSS YOUR MEDICAL DECISIONS WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!!!!  You have a right to privacy!!

And you have a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO BODILY INTEGRITY:  To keep your body whole, without unlawful or unwanted interference.

If you want to read a full easy version of the Constitution of Ireland go to this website.

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/irish_constitution_1/constitution_fundamental_rights.html#l52f30