Throwback Thursday: A Kildare kissing ban because it 'spread infection'

From the Leader archives 100 years ago

Theresa Murray

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Theresa Murray

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editor@leinsterleader.ie

Throwback Thursday: A Kildare kissing ban because it 'spread infection'

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The Leinster Leader reported from Naas District Courts on June 30, 1917, that jurors and witnesses in court cases were puzzled by a change in administering the oath.

The new form of the oath, the paper reported, renders it unnecessary to kiss the book (or Bible), and as a result frequently calls forth sharp comments from the bench in the Naas Court.

The old form of the oath by which the Clerk repeated the words and the witness merely kissed the book was reconsidered owing to the number of persons kissing the book liable to spread infection. It was decided to change the form whereby the witness repeated the words of the oath and the kissing of the book was done away with.

It was laid down that the new form must be utilised unless the person sworn expressed a desire for the old form.

The new form occupies a much longer time and frequently when a witness has laboriously repeated the words of the oath after the Clerk and then kisses the book,

Judge Barry’s comments have been strong and sharp.

If witnesses have no objection to kissing the book they should intimate this to the Clerk by saying “the old way”, the paper reported.