Case Review: The interaction between the closed shop and the Constitutional right to work

Posted In: Case Law
  • Case Reference
    IESCDET 22 (SC)
  • Legal Body
    Irish Supreme Court (IESC)
  • Type of Claim / Jurisdiction
    Collective and Trade Union Issues
Issues covered: Trade Union Membership; Closed Shop; Constitutional Right to Work

Cathy Maguire BL reviews the case of O’Connell v Building and Allied Trades’ Union, Edward Morris, Patrick O’Shaughnessy and Michael McNamara and the Construction Industry Federation [2014] IEHC 360; [2015] 26 ELR 173 (HC); [2016] IECA 338 (CA); : [2017] IESCDET 22 (SC), which illustrates the interaction between the closed shop and the Constitutional right to work. It demonstrates that while a union is entitled to approach an employer and ask that employer to engage only union members, and the employer is entitled to enter into an agreement with the union to that effect, the union cannot then wrongfully refuse membership to a qualified applicant and yet enforce the closed shop.

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This article is correct at 05/04/2017

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Cathy Maguire BL

The main content of this article was provided by Cathy Maguire BL. Contact telephone number is +353 1 817 2831 or email

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