No. 173 UCDA P150/2345

Handwritten notes by John J. Hearne on the External Relations Act

Dublin, 23 April 1938

An Taoiseach,
It occurred to me, Sir, that the attached propositions might be useful.

23rd April

The Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936, was passed before the Constitution was approved.

So clearly and completely is the National Constitution a Republican Constitution that, if no provision had been made in it validating the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936, in relation to the National Constitution, that statute would have lapsed, and legislation, even in the tenuous terms of that statute, would have been impossible. I hold that, so long as any prospect remains, of securing national unity on the basis of the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act, 1936, it would have been wrong to invalidate it altogether and thus deprive any Government which might be in office of that method of approach to the solution of the problem of national unity. The Constitution was designed to promote national unity not to prevent it.

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