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Judges, politics and the Irish Constitution$
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Laura Cahillane, James Gallen, and Tom Hickey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526114556

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526114556.001.0001

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‘The union makes us strong’: National Union of Railwaymen v. Sullivan and the demise of vocationalism in Ireland

‘The union makes us strong’: National Union of Railwaymen v. Sullivan and the demise of vocationalism in Ireland

Chapter:
(p.182) 12 ‘The union makes us strong’: National Union of Railwaymen v. Sullivan and the demise of vocationalism in Ireland
Source:
Judges, politics and the Irish Constitution
Author(s):

Donal Coffey

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526114556.003.0013

Donal Coffey’s chapter examines the case of National Union of Railwaymen v. Sullivan which held part III of the Trade Union Act 1941 unconstitutional. The chapter contends that the importance of this case is related to the manner in which it undermined the vocational project in Ireland, which was an ongoing concern in 1945 when the decision was handed down. It also marks a decisive turn in the development of judicial review in Ireland. This chapter seeks to show that the decision, although poor, played an important role in the failure of the vocational project in Ireland. The chapter concludes that in terms of judicial rigor, the decision in National Union of Railwaymen v. Sullivan is not of the highest standard. In terms of its historical importance in shaping a key debate about the future political and civic development of the State, however, the chapter concludes it is clear that it was a constitutional case of the first rank.

Keywords:   Legal history, labour law, vocational projects

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