Strange old laws that hold little water now face axe (Ireland)





THOUSANDS of pieces of archaic legislation - from banning the wearing of armour to outlawing religious practices - are to be abolished, centuries after they were enacted.

The Government last night announced a drive to finally ditch vast amounts of legislation inherited from the years before the foundation of the State. Some of the dusty ordinances date back to the Middle Ages.

The public is being encouraged to comment on the determined effort to update and codify Irish law by abolishing and replacing a total of 45,000 statutes.

They include a primitive form of justice whereby suspected thieves and murderers could be subjected to an ordeal by water. Prisoners would be thrown into deep water tied to a millstone, and those who sank were deemed to be guilty.

A total of 14,500 Acts date from before the Act of Union of 1801.



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