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All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution: Ninth Progress Report - Private Property


With the publication in February 2003 of its Eighth Progress Report: Government the committee completed its study of the Articles in the Constitution dealing with the major institutions of state. It then turned to the study of the Articles dealing with fundamental rights.

The committee had already, exceptionally, examined one of those Articles (40.3.3°: the right to life of the unborn) in its Fifth Progress Report: Abortion, published in November 2000 in response to the Green Paper on Abortion (1999), which was referred to the committee for its consideration and recommendations. It then decided to prioritise study of Article 40.3.2° and Article 43, which deal with private property.

On 29 February 2000, the Taoiseach wrote to the then chairman, Brian Lenihan TD (see Appendix 1), suggesting that the committee, when it came to examine the personal and property rights aspects of the Constitution, should consider the need for updating provisions which pertain to planning controls and infrastructural development. In its examination of the Articles relating to property the committee was particularly concerned, therefore, to establish whether the balance struck in them between the rights of the individual and the exigencies of the common good was such as to impose unnecessary impediments to legislation which would either control or otherwise regulate the price of building land on the one hand or which would seek to eliminate many of the obstacles to the speedy roll-out of major infrastructural projects on the other hand.