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Discretionary powers of Minister could only be operated in accordance with the objects of the legislation and in a constitutional manner

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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Supreme Court allows appeal from High Court, and sets aside declaration that legislation was unconstitutional where it conferred power on a Minister to grant licences for livestock marts and to attach conditions to such licences, on the grounds that: (a) the legislation was entitled to the presumption of constitutionality; (b) although the Minister’s powers were discretionary, he was obliged to exercise them only within the boundaries of the stated objects of the legislation; and (c) where legislation was capable of being interpreted in an unconstitutional manner, it should be presumed that the Oireachtas intended it to be interpreted in a manner that was consistent with the constitution.

Walsh J (nem diss): Livestock Marts Act, 1967 - whether constitutional - section 3 of Act - Article 40, Constitution of Ireland - unequal treatment of citizens - discretion on Minister to grant licence for mart - power to exempt persons - power to attach conditions - whether holding of marts was a property right - declaration by High Court that the licensing provisions of the Livestock Marts Act, 1967 were unconstitutional - whether the plaintiffs had been aggrieved by the enactment of the Act - whether plaimntiffs had locus standi - co-operative societies and farmers - presumption of constitutionality - discretionary powers of Minister - such powers only to be exercised within the boundaries of the stated objects of the Act -

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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