First published by the Sunday Business Post 3 January 2016
Article 27 was designed for deadlocks between both houses of the Oireachtas
The Oireachtas arithmetic after the next election could well see President Michael D Higgins using a constitutional provision that has never been employed before. The President has power under the Constitution to reject a bill passed by the Oireachtas. It has never been invoked, but was almost tested in 2014. The President can refer a bill, other than that to amend the Constitution, to the people in a referendum.
Under the Article 27 procedure, a majority of senators and not less than one-third of TDs may petition the President to decline to sign a bill into law, “on the grounds that the bill contains a proposal of such national importance that the will of the people thereon ought to be ascertained”.