Government in Ireland
Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. It’s law is based on Common Law and legislation enacted by the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) under the Irish Constitution.
In addition, regulations and directives enacted by the European Union have the force of law in Ireland.
The Constitution of Ireland sets out the form of government and defines the powers and functions of the President, both Houses of the Oireachtas and the Government. It also defines the structures and the powers of the Courts and outlines the fundamental rights of citizens.
The President is the head of state and is elected by direct vote.
There are two Houses of Parliament, known as Dáil Éireann ( House of Representatives)
and Seanad Éireann (Senate).
Fifteen Ministers, each of whom heads one or more Government Departments, collectively form the
Government. Executive power is exercised by or on the authority of the Government, which is
responsible to the Dáil (House of Representatives).
The Head of the Government is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and the Tánaiste is the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Dáil has 166 members known as Teachtaí Dála (TD). They are elected on a system of proportional representation. Elections take place at least once every five years. After the most recent 2011 general election the main political parties represented in the Dáil were : Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.
The Seanad has 60 members, eleven of whom are nominated by the Taoiseach while the rest are elected from a number of vocational panels and by graduates of universities. The Seanad may initiate or revise legislation (except
Finance Bills), but the Dáil has the power to reject any such amendments