Rialtas na hÉireann

The President

The Council of State               The Attorney General



Dáil                                                             Seanad
The lower house of Oireachtas             The upper house of Oireachtas




European Parliament                      Electorate                            Local Authorities
The voting public


Activities on Government

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The President

The head of state is called the President, the first citizen and is also the guardian of the constitution. The people of Ireland vote for their President every seven years. The same President can not complete more than terms ie 14 years. The duties of the president include

The president resides at Arás an Uachtaran in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Presidents since the formation of the state

1938-1945            Douglas Hyde
1945-1959            Sean T. O'Kelly
1959-1973            Éamon de Valera
1973-1974            Erskine Childers
1974-1976            Cearbhall O Dalaigh
1976-1990            Patrick Hillery
1990-1997            Mary Robinson
1997-                  Mary McAleese

WebQuest on President
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The Dáil

The Government of Ireland presides in Leinster House. It is divided into the Upper house Seanad and the lower house Dáil this is called a bicameral system.

The Taoiseach is the Prime Minister and the Tánaiste is second in command.

There are 166 Teachtaí Dála (TDs) in the Dáil. They are often referred to as Deputies.

Ireland is divided into forty two constituencies and there are approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people in each one.

The main business of the government is to

The Cabinet

Once the Taoiseach has been elected (s)he nominates the members of the Cabinet who will have responsibility for the various government departments. Each member of the Cabinet gets responsibility for at least one government department and this is called a portfolio. The Ministers join together to form this team called the cabinet and should agree on all major policy decisions. Even if a Minister personally disagrees with a decision they must defend the cabinet position on it and this is called the collective authority. Ministers are not allowed to talk about what happens in cabinet and this is called Cabinet Confidentiality.

The ministers can appoint special advisors to help them and they can be called Junior Ministers or ministers of state. Although not in the cabinet they work directly under the minister. Civil servants will also provide a list of options for the minister when decisions have to be made and the possible political effects of various decisions.

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The Seanad

The Seanad or Senate is made up of 60 senators and they meet in Leinster House. The taoiseach can nominate 11 senators. There are three nominated both from Trinity and the University of Ireland. The other 43 must be elected by members of the Dail.

Nominated by Taoiseach              11
University of Ireland                      3
Trinity                                          3
Elected                                       43
Total                                          60

The senate looks at laws passed by the Dail and gives a second opinion.. Although the senate has little power it can make recommendations. The Seanad always has a majority which suppots the government. Why would you say this is? The chairperson of the Seanad is called the Cathaoirleach. When a new Dail is elected the Seanad is dessolved and a new one must be elected.

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Local Authorities

There are several types of local authority in Ireland

Local Authorities should bridge the gap between the government and the local people; to voice the opinions, needs and hopes of the local community, to manage the local services. Local authorities responsibilities include

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