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Free State Constitution

Volume 155: debated on Monday 26 June 1922

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether acceptance of the status of a citizen of the Irish Free State, under the provisions of Clause 3 of the suggested Constitution for Southern Ireland, deprives the person so accepting of his rights as a British subject in Ireland?

Are we to understand that the status, with all the rights, of British citizenship, is to be recognised in Southern Ireland when the Constitution is set up?

This case arises similarly in the Dominions, and I cannot attempt to give any further answer, without an opportunity of framing it with my legal advisers.

Is it not a fact that a citizen of a British Dominion is, ipso facto, a British subject?


asked the Prime Minister what is the court or body which is entitled to decide whether any provision of the Constitution of the Irish Free State, or any amendment thereof, is in any respect repugnant to any of the provisions of the Treaty with British Ministers which forms a schedule to the said Constitution, and is empowered to declare void and inoperative any such provision?

The question to which the hon. Member refers may be raised before any Court in which it is a material issue. The High Court of the Free State would have primary jurisdiction to determine the question subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court of the Free State. I would further refer the hon. Member to the proviso to Article 65 of the, draft Constitution which provides that nothing in the Constitution shall impair the right of any person to petition His Majesty for special leave to appeal from the Supreme Court to His Majesty in Council or the right of His Majesty to grant such leave.