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Ireland’s Constitution: Past, Present and Future

Thursday, 17 January 2019, 1:30 – 5:30pm

Ireland’s Constitution: Past, Present and Future

A symposium organised by Trinity Centre for New Irish Studies and supported by Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity Research in Social Sciences, and Trinity Law School.

The Constitution of 1937 is the cornerstone of political and social life in Ireland. It defines the identity of the Irish people, establishes the Irish political system and protects a charter of fundamental rights and values. Compared to other constitutions, the Irish Constitution ranks highly for longevity, democratic stability and protection of civil and political rights.

In recent years, constitutional change through referendum has seen the Constitution has become decidedly less nationalistic and less influenced by Roman Catholic social teaching. At the same time, the Government has become more powerful as the courts have limited their interventions into political decisions. As Irish society further diversifies and as the 1998 Northern Ireland settlement is threatened by Brexit, the Constitution faces new challenges.

In The Constitution of Ireland: A Contextual Analysis (Hart, 2018), Oran Doyle provides a critical analysis of how the Constitution has developed and how it might respond to challenges to its most fundamental assumptions about Irishness.

In this public symposium, academic experts from different disciplines and with different perspectives will reflect on these trends and challenges, prompted by a reading of the book. The author will then respond to the speakers.

The symposium will provide an opportunity for critical and informed analysis of the Constitution’s role in Irish society, the role that it may play in the coming years, and further changes that it may undergo.


  • Prof Chris Morash, Vice-Provost, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Thomas Mohr, Associate Professor in law, University College Dublin
  • Dr Catherine Conlon, Assistant professor in social studies, Trinity College Dublin
  • Prof Gail McElroy, Professor in politics, Trinity College Dublin
  • Prof Linda Hogan, Professor of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin
  • Prof Chris McCrudden, Professor of Human Rights and Equality Law at Queen’s University Belfast and William W Cook Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School
  • Dr Etain Tannam, Associate Professor in International Peace Studies, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Conor O’Mahony, Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Child Law at University College Cork
This event is free but registration is essential. Please email

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Research Theme: Making Ireland
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Conferences, Lectures and Seminars, Public, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: This event is free but registration is essential. Please email

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