Political System in Ireland

Head of State

  • The Head of State is the President - currently Michael D Higgins. Presidential elections take place every seven years with a direct vote of the people. The President appoints the Taoiseach on the nomination of Dáil Éireann and appoints Government Ministers on the advice of the Taoiseach.

Parliament

  • The Republic of Ireland is a parliamentary democracy governed by the Oireachtas which consists of the President and the Legislature. The Legislature has two houses, Dáil Éireann, which is a house of representatives and Seanad Éireann, which is a senate or upper house.
  • The sole and exclusive power of making laws is vested in parliament.
  • The Dáil has exclusive responsibility for initiating Money Bills or Bills to amend the Constitution. The Seanad has only limited powers in amending Money Bills and any Bill passed by the Dáil.

Elections

  • General Elections must be held at least once every 5 years. One hundred and sixty-six Teachtaí Dála (members of the Dáil) are elected directly in 41 constituencies, by Irish and British citizens resident in the Republic.
  • System - Proportional representation and a single transferrable vote.
  • Seanad Éireann has 60 Seanadoirí (Senators); 11 are nominated by the Taoiseach, 6 are elected by the graduates of Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland and the remaining 43 are elected by 5 panels.

Main Political Parties

  • Fianna Fáil
    • Founded in 1926 by Éamon de Valera. Fianna Fáil was made up of anti-treaty Sinn Féin members, the party did not sit in the Oireachtas until 1927.
  • Fine Gael
    • Founded in 1933 following the amalgamation of Cumann na nGaedheal, the Centre Party and the Army Comrades Association.
  • Labour Party
    • Founded in 1912 by James Connolly, Jim Larkin and William O'Brien as political wing of Irish Trade Union Congress, the party merged with Democratic Left in 1999
  • The Green Party
    • Founded in 1981 as the Ecology Party of Ireland, renamed The Green Party in 1986.
  • Sinn Féin
    • Founded in 1905 as Sinn Féin League, 1970 as Provisional Sinn Féin.