Dáil Éireann - Volume 521 - 13 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Patents of Precedence.

79. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Taoiseach when the Government first granted patents of precedence to barristers at the Irish Bar; the historical circumstances giving rise to the decision to make the grant of patents of precedence to barristers at the Irish Bar by the Government; the basis for the grant of patents of precedence by the Government to barristers at the Irish Bar; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16349/00]

The Taoiseach: Since the establishment of the State, the Government has granted patents of precedence to barristers leading to the call to the senior Bar by the Chief Justice.

Historically, at common law, the grant of silk [192] was an exercise of the royal prerogative. The transfer of functions which had previously been dependent on the royal prerogative, to the Executive Council of Saorstát Éireann was clarified by section 2 of the Executive Powers (Consequential Provisions) Act, 1937. The function is now exercised by the Government as successor to the executive council and is no longer dependent on the royal prerogative.