The Law Society of Ireland has warned its solicitor members that they must always carry a copy of the Bible and the Quran if they are to strictly fulfill an order issued by one of the country's most senior judges.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, has made it clear that when a solicitor oversees a sworn affidavit, a Bible or other relevant religious text must always be used.
The only exception is where somebody objects to the use of such a text on religious grounds.
Now the Law Society, in a circular seen by the Sunday Independent, has privately warned its members that they must strictly abide by this ruling. Christians use the New Testament, Jews tend to use the Old Testament, while Muslims swear on the Quran.
But Judge Kelly's ruling means that in practice solicitors must now always have a copy of the Bible or the Quran in their possession during working hours, in case they have to administer an oath and neither is available.
A legal source said the judge was well known for his strongly held views on certain issues and this ruling was in line with his overall approach to such matters.
It is understood that the Prison Service does not have copies of the Bible or the Quran available in a number of institutions.
In such situations, it is incumbent on a solicitor to make their own arrangements when overseeing the swearing of an oath.