Irish Government
Overview
 
The Government of Ireland is the cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 that exercises executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 authority in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

.
Membership of the Government is regulated fundamentally by the Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

. The Government is headed by a prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 called the Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

. The deputy prime minister is called the Tánaiste
Tánaiste
The Tánaiste is the deputy prime minister of Ireland. The current Tánaiste is Eamon Gilmore, TD who was appointed on 9 March 2011.- Origins and etymology :...

, and is nominated by the Taoiseach from among the members of the Government.

The Government must consist of between seven and fifteen members, according to the Constitution of Ireland.
Encyclopedia
The Government of Ireland is the cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 that exercises executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 authority in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

.

Members of the Government

Membership of the Government is regulated fundamentally by the Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

. The Government is headed by a prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 called the Taoiseach
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

. The deputy prime minister is called the Tánaiste
Tánaiste
The Tánaiste is the deputy prime minister of Ireland. The current Tánaiste is Eamon Gilmore, TD who was appointed on 9 March 2011.- Origins and etymology :...

, and is nominated by the Taoiseach from among the members of the Government.

The Government must consist of between seven and fifteen members, according to the Constitution of Ireland. Every member of the Government must be a member of the parliament of Ireland, called the Oireachtas
Oireachtas
The Oireachtas , sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the "national parliament" or legislature of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of:*The President of Ireland*The two Houses of the Oireachtas :**Dáil Éireann...

. No more than two members of the Government may be members of Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann
Seanad Éireann is the upper house of the Oireachtas , which also comprises the President of Ireland and Dáil Éireann . It is commonly called the Seanad or Senate and its members Senators or Seanadóirí . Unlike Dáil Éireann, it is not directly elected but consists of a mixture of members chosen by...

, the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 of the Oireachtas. Therefore, all other members of the Government must be members of Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

, the lower house. The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Finance
Minister for Finance (Ireland)
The Minister for Finance is the title held by the Irish government minister responsible for all financial and monetary matters. The office-holder controls the Department of Finance and is considered one of the most important members of the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Finance is...

 must be members of the Dáil.

The Taoiseach is nominated by Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

, the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of the Oireachtas, and appointed by the President
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

. Other members of the Government are nominated by the Taoiseach, approved by Dáil Éireann, and appointed by the President. Each is styled as a "Minister of the Government
Department of State (Ireland)
A Department of State of Ireland, is a department or ministry of the Government of Ireland. The head of such a department is a Minister of the Government , often called a 'cabinet minister' or 'government minister' which should not be confused with Minister of State which is a junior non-cabinet...

", and often referred to as a 'cabinet minister'.

Non-members attending cabinet

The Government is advised by the Attorney General
Attorney General of Ireland
The Attorney General is a constitutional officer who is the official adviser to the Government of Ireland in matters of law. He is in effect the chief law officer in Ireland. The Attorney General is not a member of the Government but does participate in cabinet meetings when invited and attends...

, who is not formally a member of the Government, but who participates in cabinet meetings as part of her role as legal advisor to the Government.

The Chief Whip
Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach
The Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, officially styled as the Minister of State at the Departments of the Taoiseach and Defence with special responsibility as Government Chief Whip, is the Chief Whip of the Government of Ireland and is the most senior Minister of State...

 may attend meetings of the cabinet, but he is not a member of the Government.

In addition, the Government can choose another Minister of State
Minister of State (Ireland)
A Minister of State in Ireland is of non-Cabinet rank, attached to one or more Departments of State of the Government of Ireland....

 (junior minister), who may attend cabinet meetings. This person is informally known as a "super junior minister".

The President's role

The President is not a member of the government, and does not participate in its meetings. The Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

 does not make the President even the nominal chief executive officer of the government. It explicitly vests executive authority in the cabinet. In addition, the President does not have discretion in appointing a Taoiseach; instead, this is a constitutional obligation which must happen upon the nomination of the Taoiseach by the Dáil. A similar obligation exists for the appointment of members of the Government; they must be appointed upon nomination by the Taoiseach and approval by the Dáil.

Term of office

Normally, the Government serves in office until the nomination of a new Taoiseach by Dáil Éireann.

The Government must enjoy the confidence of Dáil Éireann if it is to remain in office. If the Taoiseach should cease "to retain the support of a majority in Dáil Éireann", either Dáil Éireann must be dissolved
Dissolution of parliament
In parliamentary systems, a dissolution of parliament is the dispersal of a legislature at the call of an election.Usually there is a maximum length of a legislature, and a dissolution must happen before the maximum time...

 or the Taoiseach must resign. The President may refuse to grant a dissolution to a Taoiseach who does not enjoy the support of the Dáil, thus forcing the resignation of the Taoiseach.

When the Taoiseach resigns, the entire Government is deemed to have resigned as a collective. However, according to the Constitution, "the Taoiseach and the other members of the Government shall continue to carry on their duties until their successors shall have been appointed". The Taoiseach can also direct the President to dismiss or accept the resignation of individual ministers.

Upon the dissolution of Dáil Éireann, ministers are no longer members of the Oireachtas, and therefore ineligible for office. However, under another clause in the Constitution, they "shall continue to hold office until their successors shall have been appointed".

Authority and powers

The executive authority of the Government is subject to certain limitations. In particular:
  • The state may not declare war
    Declaration of war
    A declaration of war is a formal act by which one nation goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more states.The legality of who is competent to declare war varies...

    , or participate in a war, without the consent of Dáil Éireann. In the case of "actual invasion", however, "the Government may take whatever steps they may consider necessary for the protection of the State"
  • Treaties
    Treaty
    A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

     must be laid before Dáil Éireann.
  • The Government must act in accordance with the Constitution.


Government ministers are collectively responsible for the actions of the government. Each minister is responsible for the actions of his or her department. Departments of State do not have legal personalities. Actions of departments are carried out under the title of ministers even, as is commonly the case, when the minister has little knowledge of the details of these actions. This contradicts the rule in common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 that a person given a statutory power cannot delegate that power. This leads to a phrase in correspondence by government departments, "the Minister has directed me to write", on letters or documents that the minister in question may never have seen.

When one of the Government's ministerial positions ceases to exist (as distinct from being renamed, which occurs more frequently), its powers are transferred to those of other ministers. "Defunct" ministers include the Ministers for Communications
Minister for Communications (Ireland)
The Minister for Communications was the minister in the Government of Ireland created by the to replace the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. In 1991 the ministers functions were passed to the retitled Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications and the department ceased to exist .-Minister...

, Labour
Minister for Labour (Ireland)
The Minister for Labour was originally the name of a government department in the Government of the Irish Republic, the self-declared state which was established in 1919 by Dáil Éireann, the parliamentary assembly made up of the majority of Irish MPs elected in the 1918 general election. Constance...

, Posts & Telegraphs
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Ireland)
The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was a senior post in the government of the Irish Free State and the Republic of Ireland from 1924 to 1984, when the post and the department was abolished....

, Public Service
Minister for the Public Service (Ireland)
The Minister for the Public Service was a senior post in the Government of Ireland, it was created by the . In March 1987 the minister's functions were transferred to the Minister for Tourism and Transport after the department was amalgamated....

 and Supplies
Minister for Supplies (Ireland)
The Minister for Supplies was created by the , to assist Ireland through World War II, or The Emergency, as referred to by the Government of Ireland...

. The office of Minister without portfolio
Minister without Portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

 has not been held since 1977.

If the Government should fail to fulfill its constitutional duties, it may be ordered to do so by a court of law, by writ of mandamus. Ministers who fail to comply may, ultimately, be found to be in contempt of court
Contempt of court
Contempt of court is a court order which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court's authority...

, and even imprisoned.

History

The Government was created by the 1937 Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

; the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924 and amendments, contains the detailed provisions regarding status and functions of the Government in general. The Government was preceded by the Executive Council
Executive Council of the Irish Free State
The Executive Council was the cabinet and de facto executive branch of government of the 1922–1937 Irish Free State. Formally, the role of the Executive Council was to "aid and advise" the Governor-General who would exercise the executive authority on behalf of the King...

 of the 1922–1937 Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

.

All Governments since 1989 have been coalitions
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 of two or more parties. The first coalition government was formed in 1948. The Taoiseach has always been a member of the largest party in the coalition. The Taoiseach has almost always been the leader of that party, with John A. Costello
John A. Costello
John Aloysius Costello , a successful barrister, was one of the main legal advisors to the government of the Irish Free State after independence, Attorney General of Ireland from 1926–1932 and Taoiseach from 1948–1951 and 1954–1957....

 the only exception to this rule.

Public sector

The Government is a significant employer in the state, due to its control of the civil service
Civil service of the Republic of Ireland
The Civil Service of Ireland is the collective term for the permanent staff of the Departments of State and certain State Agencies who advise and work for the Government of Ireland. It consists of two broad components, the Civil Service of the Government and the Civil Service of the State...

, the public service
Public service of the Republic of Ireland
The public service of Ireland consists of agencies which, while not formally part of a Department of State, provide services on behalf of the government...

, and the state-sponsored bodies
State-sponsored bodies of the Republic of Ireland
A State-Sponsored Body is the name given in Ireland to a state-owned enterprise , that is to say, a commercial business which is benficially owned, either completely or majority, by the Irish Government...

. These three sectors are often called the "public sector". These bodies are managed in different ways. The civil service features clearly-defined and standard hierarchies of management, while among the public services, a sponsoring minister or the Minister for Finance
Minister for Finance (Ireland)
The Minister for Finance is the title held by the Irish government minister responsible for all financial and monetary matters. The office-holder controls the Department of Finance and is considered one of the most important members of the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Finance is...

 may appoint a board or commission. The state's commercial activities are normally managed through the state-sponsored bodies, which are organised in a similar fashion to private companies.

A June 2005 report on public sector employment, shows that the numbers employed in the public sector stood at 350,100. By sector, there were 38,700 in the civil service, 254,100 in the public service and 57,300 in state-sponsored bodies. The total workforce of the state was 1,857,400 that year. Thus, the public sector comprised approximately 20% of the total workforce.

Civil service

The civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 of the Republic of Ireland consists of two broad components, the Civil Service of the Government and the Civil Service of the State. While this partition is largely theoretical, the two parts do have some fundamental operational differences. The civil service is expected to maintain political impartiality in its work, and some parts of it are entirely independent of Government decision making.

Public service

The public service
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 is a broad term, not clearly defined, and it is sometimes taken to include the civil service. The public service proper comprises Government agencies and bodies which provide services on behalf of the Government, but which are not part of the civil service. For instance, local authorities
Local government in the Republic of Ireland
Local government functions in the Republic of Ireland are mostly exercised by thirty-four local authorities, termed county or city councils, which cover the entire territory of the state. The area under the jurisdiction of each of these authorities corresponds to the area of each of the 34 LAU I...

, Vocational Education Committee
Vocational Education Committee
A Vocational Education Committee is a statutory local education body in the Republic of Ireland that administers some secondary education, most adult education and a very small amount of primary education in the state...

s and the Garda Síochána
Garda Síochána
, more commonly referred to as the Gardaí , is the police force of Ireland. The service is headed by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are located in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.- Terminology :...

are considered to be public services.

Current Government of Ireland

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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