European court dismisses Irish campaigners’ case over oath ‘to almighty God’

European human rights judges have dismissed a legal challenge to the presidential oath, in a setback for campaigners seeking to remove declarations made “in the presence of Almighty God” from the Constitution.

The case had been brought by Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall and four co-litigants. The Government had argued that the action should be thrown out because the litigants were not victimised by the constitutional requirement to make such declarations.

In a unanimous ruling on Thursday, the case was declared inadmissible by a seven-judge chamber of the court in Strasbourg. “The decision is final,” it said.

“The court, in declaring the applications inadmissible, found that the applicants had failed to provide reasonable and convincing evidence that they were at risk of being directly affected by these requirements and so could not claim to be victims of a violation of the Convention,” it added.

“The Convention did not permit applicants to complain about a provision of national law simply because they considered, without being directly affected by it, that it may contravene the Convention.