Country Idealist Profiles

Ireland Government – Legislative Powers

Posted in Ireland, Ireland - Government by hynesbrid on July 22, 2008

The Oireachtas (The National Parliament) consists of The President (An Uachtarán) and two houses Dáil Ëireann (House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (The Senate).
The President (Uachtarán na hÉireann) is the head of state.  The office of the President of Ireland is established under Bunreacht na hÉireann (The Constitution of Ireland).  The role of the President is mainly ceremonial.  The President is elected directly by the people of Ireland.  His/her term of office is 7 years and the President may not serve more than two terms.   The President´s powers include:

  • Appointing members of the Government, judges and other officals
  • Summoning and disolving the Dáil
  • Convening the Oireachtas
  • Representing the Irish People
  • Signing Bills and referring Bills to the Supreme Court
  • Acting as Supreme Commander of the Defence Force

The current President of Ireland is Mary McAleese who commenced her second term on November 11th 2004.    
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the House of Representatives.  It is located in Dublin.
The Dáil consists of members of the Dáil known as TDs – Teachta Dála.  TDs are elected directly to the Dáil by the people of Ireland in a general election.  The Constitution states that the number of TDs cannot be more than one for every 20,000 of the population and cannot be less than one for every 30,000. There are now 166 TDs, which means that there is approximately one TD for every 23,000 people.
The country is divided into 42 constituencies and every constituency must elect at least three members to the Dáil. As far as possible, the ratio of population to TD must be equal in each constituency.
The constituencies must be revised at least once every 12 years, although in practice they are revised after the census is published every five years. TDs represent and work on behalf of the electors in their constituency. The maximum life of the Dáil is 5 years, although at any time the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) may advise the President to dissolve the Dáil.

Seanad Éireann / The Senate
Seanad Éireann is the senate of Ireland. It is the upper House of the Oireachtas.  The main function of the Seanad is in relation to legislation.   A Bill may start life in either the Dáil or the Seanad. In practice, the vast majority of Bills originate from the Government and are passed by the Dáil first. They are then sent to the Seanad for debate and consideration. Within 90 days, the Seanad may propose amendments, reject or pass a Bill. The Dáil has the power to over-ride the Seanad’s rejection of a Bill.


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