Ireland has changed in many ways over the years, and these unfair laws will show you just how much the country has progressed.
While there can be many benefits of having laws and acts in place to keep the peace and maintain order within a society, there can also be peculiar rules that make no sense.
Over the years, Ireland has seen its fair share of unfair laws, from a ban on growing crops to being forbidden from dancing, and these are just a few that we will share with you here.
In this exploration of law and order on the Emerald Isle, we will delve into the ten most unfair laws in Ireland of all time, and some are utterly hard to believe.
- Ireland has changed in many ways over the years, and these unfair laws will show you just how much the country has progressed.
- 10. The Spud Act − a harsh move
- 9. The Public Dance Hall Act − no dancing after midnight
- 8. The banning of divorce − one of the most unfair laws in Ireland
- 7. The criminalisation of homosexuality − an unjust law
- 6. The prohibition of contraception − an archaic law for over 60 years
- 5. The Intoxication Liquor Act − no alcohol on Sundays
- 4. The Marriage Bar − a gender-based law
- 3. The Sunday Observance Act − religion says no
- 2. The ban on women in juries − an unfair law against women
- 1. The Censorship of Publications law − a law by the Irish Free State
10. The Spud Act − a harsh move
The Spud Act was part of the Gregory Clause during the Famine, which allowed landlords to evict tenants who couldn’t pay their rent.
The clause also contributed to a focus on potato cultivation. This drastic move to restrict the cultivation of other crops left the Irish public dependent on the potato and vulnerable to crop failure, which didn’t help the already bleak situation.
9. The Public Dance Hall Act − no dancing after midnight
A law prohibited dancing after midnight to maintain social order unless the venue held a specific license.
The law, which came into effect in the 20th century, dampened the locals’ spirits so much that it was eventually repealed, much to the late-night revellers’ joy.
8. The banning of divorce − one of the most unfair laws in Ireland
Believe it or not, until the 1990s, divorce was illegal in Ireland and saw many couples forced to stay together whether they liked it or not.
This law was a significant burden on society, especially those yearning for a fresh start, and it wasn’t until it was legalised in 1996 that all was well again.
7. The criminalisation of homosexuality − an unjust law
Once upon a time – until 1993, to be exact- a law was put in place to prevent and criminalise homosexuality.
The unfair law prevented many people from living freely, denied them fundamental rights, subjected them to discrimination, and stigmatised the LGBTQ+ community.
6. The prohibition of contraception − an archaic law for over 60 years
One of the most unfair laws in Ireland of all time was the prohibition of contraception.
Not only was there a strict ban on the sale and importation of contraception, but this law disregarded the personal choices of the Irish public. The ban was lifted in 1980 and paved the way for a progressive Ireland.
5. The Intoxication Liquor Act − no alcohol on Sundays
It’s hard to think of a time when Irish people were denied alcohol since this is part of the culture, yet there was a prohibition on the sale of alcohol on Sundays in the 1920s.
This law restricted societies’ freedom, stifled businesses, and limited recreational options for locals.
4. The Marriage Bar − a gender-based law
One of the most unfair laws in Ireland was, of course, a law that forced married women to quit their jobs in civil service, teaching and many other professions.
This law, which lasted from 1922 – 1973, restricted women’s rights and employment opportunities and perpetuated gender equality.
3. The Sunday Observance Act − religion says no
Based on religious grounds, an act came into place in 1695 which forbade anyone from taking part in various activities on a Sunday.
This included dancing, sports and music-related activities, and overall, this unfair law played a role in restricting the freedom of the locals.
2. The ban on women in juries − an unfair law against women
In Ireland, a law once restricted women from being part of a jury. The 1927 act excluded women from taking part in any judicial process. In turn, this undermined equal representation and restricted their voices from being heard in legal matters.
1. The Censorship of Publications law − a law by the Irish Free State
In 1929, a law was put in place to prevent the Irish public from getting their hands on any publications in the form of books and magazines that were deemed obscene or against public morality.
This restriction left people with limited freedom of expression, and many well-known writers had their work banned.
So, as we bid farewell to these ten unfair laws in Ireland of all time, we can reflect on their impact on society, reminding us of a time when life was tough and societal norms were far from what they are today.
Thankfully, Ireland’s journey towards fairness and equality has seen the repeal and reform of many of these laws.