Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announces Bill for record repeal of obsolete laws

Issued 12 March 2015

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Mr Brendan Howlin T.D. has published the Statute Law Revision Bill 2015 to revoke 5,782 pre-independence Government regulations and orders.  In terms of express repeal of obsolete laws, the Bill is the largest repealing measure ever announced in the history of the State or any other country.

The Minister said “Statute law revision is the process by which spent or obsolete legislation is removed from the statute book. The removal leads to a more accessible statute book and will pave the way for further simplification and modernisation measures.

Among the new instruments to be revoked is a proclamation of 1542 declaring that the English crown shall be “King of Ireland”.

The obsolete orders listed for removal also include:

  • ·         A proclamation of 1227 to proclaim in Ireland the laws and customs of England
  • ·         A proclamation of 1346 declaring English money to be current in Ireland
  • ·         A Proclamation of 1561 declaring Shane O’Neill to be a traitor
  • ·         An Order 1590 prohibiting the sale of horses out of the Pale upon pain of death
  • ·         Declaration of 1654 ordering the removal of Irish papist proprietors with their wives, children and families from Leinster, Munster and Ulster to Connaught
  • ·         A Proclamation of 1665 ordering the quarantine of ships' passengers on account of plague
  • ·         An Order of 1 January 1801 summoning the Parliament of the United Kingdom to meet for the first time

The Minister also said “The work of the Statute Law Revision Programme, has been strongly supported by the OECD, and is included in the Programme for Government and the Public Service Reform Plan.”  

Following publication of this Bill, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will continue with the programme of statute law revision. The next phase will involve the analysis of primary legislation enacted from 1922 onwards as well as the continuation of assessment of secondary legislation after 1820.