A number of obsolete laws look set to be wiped off the books, meaning that single women can now finally open their own taverns.
The Statute Law Revision Bill of 2015 was carried through the Dáil and Seanad last week, and is on its way to the Áras, where Michael D. Higgins is expected to sign it into law, and wipe 5,782 obsolete laws off the books.
Given the huge number of laws involved, there are plenty of proclamations, orders and general nonsense that we no longer need to be careful of, including several bizarre ones that we thought we'd already sorted out a while back:
- The sale of horses outside of the Pale prohibited "upon pain of death"
- A 1542 proclamation that the holder of the crown in England is also "King of Ireland"
- A declaration from 1346 that stated that English money was the currency of Ireland
- A proclamation dating back to 1712 asking for the apprehension of nuns settled in Dublin
- The prohibition of single women keeping taverns, which dates back to 1612
- A proclamation in 1693 prohibiting all trade with France (can we claim Paul O'Connell back under this one?)
- Only the "lower orders" are supposed to eat potatoes and porridge, according to an order from 1817
Also, Anne Boleyn's marriage to Henry VIII is now fair game, as the 1533 warning about criticising it can't hold us back anymore. Simon Harris, the Fine Gael Minister of State for Public Expenditure & Reform, has overseen the final stages of the Bill and stated that this was an important move from the government: "We should see our obligations as extending beyond the creation of new legislation to also include the review and removal of that which is no longer necessary".
So, let's all meet up tomorrow to discuss Anne and Henry over a bowl of imported French porridge.