President Higgins has called on the Council of State to deliberate on the constitutionality of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill and the process, invoked in only the most exceptional circumstances, begins today.
The council advises the president when he or she is considering using a power afforded under the Constitution — namely referring a bill to the supreme court. The president is not, however, obliged to act on whatever advice the council offers. The council is made up of 24 people, including senior serving and retired politicians and judges, as well as seven people appointed by the president. In light of the checks-and-balances argument advanced to preserve the Senate the result of their deliberations will be watched with considerable interest.
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