Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (161, 162, 163)

Arthur Morgan

Question:

241 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if CBEs, MBEs and OBEs given by the British royal family to citizens of this State are subject to Article 40.2.2° of the 1937 Constitution which states that no title of nobility or honour may be accepted by any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6939/04]

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Arthur Morgan

Question:

242 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make available all legal or other advice which has been received by the Government with regard to what constitutes a title of nobility or of honour under Article 40.2.2° of the 1937 Constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6940/04]

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Arthur Morgan

Question:

243 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will list all titles of nobility or honour that are subject to Article 40.2.2° of the 1937 Constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6941/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 to 243, inclusive, together.

Article 40.2.2° of the Constitution states that "No title of nobility or of honour may be accepted by any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government". While it is not the practice to make public legal advice received by the Government, the term "title of nobility or of honour" in Article 40.2.2° is interpreted as an award that entitles the recipient to use a prefix, such as "Sir" or "Lord", before his or her name. An award which provides for the use of letters or marks of distinction after the name, such as "OBE" or "MBE", is not regarded as a title of nobility or of honour in this context .

It is not possible to provide a definitive listing of all foreign titles of nobility or honour that are subject to Article 40.2.2° of the Constitution. It is the normal protocol for a foreign government which wishes to make an award to an Irish citizen to inform the Government and any such notifications are considered on a case by case basis to see if they are subject to Article 40.2.2° of the Constitution. The vast majority of these notifications are of a routine nature and in the absence of any constitutional requirement that they be brought to the Government are dealt with at official level.