THE BAIL REFERENDUM

 

Sir - I am one of (I hope) a growing number of people who would prefer our Constitution to consist of broad general principles, leaving the detailed legislation to the Oireachtas and the courts. I realise that a major revision of our Constitution is not yet on (we need a modern de Valera to steer that through) but I regret that every time we have an amendment referendum, we miss opportunities to move towards that goal.

The forthcoming referendum is a case in point. If we wish to give the courts the option of refusing bail, why not say that?

I do not know if words such as "serious" or "reasonably" are officially defined, I suspect not. If so, they have no place in our Constitution. May I suggest a second, alternative wording be offered to the people, with some form of PR voting to give the growing number referred to a voice.

I believe that a substantial number of people were tempted to vote against the divorce amendment because it set out detailed provisions unsuitable in a national Constitution. I realise the reasons why these had to be written in. A pity, but in this case an opportunity has been lost. I hasten to add that I am not here arguing for or against the principle involved, which is a separate issue; we have not yet seen the full arguments. - Yours, etc.,

Malahide,

Co Dublin.