EU Treaty Rights pertain to the unimpeded movement of EU citizens and their EU and non-EU family members within the European Union. These rights are based on EU Law, primarily Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which has been integrated into Irish law.
In general, Article 21(1) of the TFEU states that every EU citizen has the right to move and reside freely within the member countries, as long as they comply with the limitations and conditions specified in the Treaties and the measures implemented to enforce them. Directive 2004/38/EC, also known as the 2004 Directive, is the principal EU legislation that enforces Article 21(1) of the TFEU. It outlines the conditions and restrictions on the right to free movement, which is commonly misunderstood as an absolute right.
The 2004 Directive allows Member States some flexibility in implementing its provisions, especially concerning Article 3(2) beneficiaries. Unlike EU Regulations, which are directly applicable to EU Member States, Directives necessitate implementation by Member States through domestic legislation, typically in the form of a Statutory Instrument.
The supremacy of EU Law over Irish Law, including the Irish Constitution, is established by the doctrine of supremacy. Therefore, in case of conflicts between EU and Irish Law, EU law takes precedence.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rulings have significant bearing on the interpretation of EU Treaty Rights in Ireland and are binding on all state agencies, courts, and tribunals.