Legal & Technical Issues
It is proposed that for a nominal period, one minute, one hour or one day, the Office of the President of Ireland would be symbolically conferred upon the life and name of Willy Delaney. From that point forward being recognised as the legal and official 10th President of Ireland.
The technical issues are twofold, firstly that all parties involved agree to both the process and the candidate, and secondly fulfilling the legal and constitutional issues which might facilitate the idea. The first issue will be addressed in a campaign to gather support for the candidate William Delaney and the process or implementing a symbolic appointment in name alone. Secondly the legal and constitutional issues might be addressed by obtaining the consent of all parties involved and activating article 13.9 of the constitution. (ref 1)
Constitutionally the President of Ireland must be a living person. In exceptional cases the Presidential Commission assumes and fulfils all functions and duties of the office of President. The exceptions being when the office of President is vacant, or when the President is unavailable, such as on the death of the incumbent, on the resignation of the incumbent, by impeachment of the incumbent, and in the short interval between the conclusion of one President's term of office and the inauguration of a successor the next day. The Presidential commission comprises of the Chief Justice – President of the Supreme Court, Ceann Comhairle – Presiding officer of Dáil Éireann, and the Cathaoirleach – Chairman of Seanad Éireann.
Clearly a deceased person can not hold office, (ref 2) yet if the candidate was recognised in name alone, if the Presidential commission agreed in the Presidents absence to put forward this candidate for a specified time as a symbolic act, then with the support of the President, the council of state and 20 members of the Oireachtas, this may be possible.
Under Article 13.9 of the Constitution, the President and by extension the Presidential commission, does have undefined discretionary powers which, of which he or she is open to consider invoking.
(1) Article 13.9 of the Irish constitution states ‘‘The powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution shall be exercisable and performable by him only on the advice of the government, save where it is provided by this Constitution that he shall act in his absolute discretion or after consultation with or in relation to the Council of State …”
Speaking of the situation in 1991 where President Mary Robinson defied Taoiseach Charles j Haughey by referring a bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality before signing the bill into law. Vincent Browne wrote during the 2011 Presidential election on the possibility of expanding the Presidential role, concluding that the President may not enact a role contrary to the will of government or the constitution. Suggesting that in exceptional situations and most importantly, with the support of the government of the day, the President may act upon his or her own discretion.
(2) Article 4.1° of the Irish constitution states “Every citizen who has reached his thirty-fifth year of age is eligible for election to the office of President.”