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Fake-or-Fact Friday: Irish Law Edition

March 13, 2015

Recently the government of Ireland changed some laws, but got a little too vague on some of the language. Result: Ireland changed some laws, however briefly, that it probably shouldn’t have changed. Two of the following stories on the subject are true, and one isn’t. Which one is the fake? The answer is at the end of the post.


More than 30 years ago, the Irish legislature passed a law banning the recreational use of hallucinogenic drugs. But this week a court found that law to be unconstitutional (new provisions had been added over time without the approval of another house of the legislature), so lawmakers wrote up a new, more airtight law to replace it. However, under Irish law, a bill can’t take effect until the day after it’s signed. Result: hallucinogenic drugs, including ecstasy and “magic mushrooms” were legal in Ireland for about a day.


Ireland has passed laws allowing same-sex couples to legally marry. But the wording of the law was such that it outlawed heterosexual marriage. The language of the bill said that, “a couple may, whether they are men or women, make a contract in accordance of the law.” In legalese, that meant only male couples and only female couples. Lawmakers quickly fixed the wording.


Like the U.S. government, the Irish government will make ceremonial proclamations. In January, the legislature declared the Irish wolfhound the “official national dog of Ireland.” However, the proclamations are filed in Irish Gaelic, and then translated into English. Whoever translated it instead declared the Irish wolfhound “the only dog officially allowed in Ireland.” This means that, technically, it’s illegal to own another kind of dog on the Emerald Isle.

Want more things that seem true but aren’t true? Then check out Uncle John’s Fake Facts. (Really!)


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