Mervyn Taylor is a name that will not be well known to many, however, he more than any other Politician in recent history has made a substantial contribution to Irish public life in the last 30 years. He was a Labour Politician and was fundamental in making the case for Referendum in Ireland, the point of the Referendum was to abolish the constitutional prohibition on Divorce. It is not widely known that Divorce in Ireland only came in in 1996 after a Referendum, the results of that Referendum was so close that effectively it is the population of a single village that determined the outcome. Many of us at this stage take Divorce for granted in the Irish Republic, but it was only because of Politicians such as Mervyn Taylor that now Irish people enjoy the basic human right that is the right to Divorce and remarry. Prior to that couples could certainly separate, but the right to remarry was forbidden.
Not only did Mervyn Taylor make such contribution in terms of Family Law he was also the driving force behind the bringing into operation of the Enduring Power of Attorney Act. This Act which has well stood the test of time allows persons to appoint another person as an Attorney in the event that they become incapacitated or unable to exercise judgment themselves.
Again this legislation has well stood the test of time and it is only now that further legislation is being brought in to widen the concept of Attorneys in terms of financial and personal care decisions. It cannot be taken for granted that Society will open up of its own volition. Society only opens up because of people like Mervyn Taylor.
At the time there were very many who believed that Divorce would impoverish women and children and a substantial number of people felt that it would undermine the nature of Irish society. Clearly those warnings have not come to pass and Ireland is all the better for having a free open society whereby people whose marriages do not work out the first time are afforded the opportunity to try again. Mervyn Taylor was aged 89 when he died. His two sons studied law with our partner Finola Cronin in Trinity College Dublin. If you have any queries about the Divorce Act or indeed the Enduring Power of Attorney Act, please contact our partner: firstname.lastname@example.org / telephone 051 874087