948. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Justice the progress made on plans to modernise the law on the administration of oaths in judicial and other proceedings; if she plans to remove religious references and religious-based oaths of office; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43023/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Articles 12.8, 31.4 and 34.5.1° of the Constitution respectively prescribe the wording of a declaration to be made by a person taking up office as President, as a member of the Council of State, and as a judge. The prescribed wording contains religious references: in each case the prescribed declaration includes a statement that the declaration is being made 'in the presence of Almighty God', while the declarations prescribed by Article 12.8 and by Article 34.5.1° also end with the words 'May God direct and sustain me.'
Any amendment to these provisions would require a referendum. 
Within my own Department's areas of responsibility, the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 introduced Statements of Truth as an alternative to the swearing of an affidavit or statutory declaration as a means of submitting evidence or verifying documents in civil proceedings. The General Scheme of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021, published in June, has also provided for the introduction of Statements of Truth to replace swearing on a bible for affidavits or statutory declarations for electronic filing to a court.