* Fine Gael (50) * Independent (7)
CONFIDENCE AND SUPPLY (44)
* Fianna Fáil (44)
OTHER OPPOSITION (56)
* Sinn Féin (23) * Labour Party (7) * Solidarity–PBP (6) * I4C (4) * Green Party (2) * Social Democrats (2) * WUA (1) * Independent (11)
* Seán Ó Fearghaíl (1)
VOTING SYSTEM Single transferable vote
LAST ELECTION 26 February 2016
NEXT ELECTION No later than 12 April 2021
DáIL ÉIREANN (/dɔɪl ˈɛərən/ lit. Assembly of Ireland) is
the lower house , and principal chamber, of the
legislature), which also includes the
President of Ireland and Seanad
Éireann (the upper house ). It currently consists of 158 members,
representing 40 constituencies, and is directly elected at least once
every five years under the system of proportional representation by
means of the single transferable vote (STV). Its powers are similar to
those of lower houses under many other bicameral parliamentary systems
and it is by far the dominant branch of the Oireachtas. Subject to the
limits imposed by the
Constitution of Ireland , it has power to pass
any law it wishes, and to nominate and remove the
Taoiseach (head of
government ). Since 1922, it has met in
Leinster House in
* 1 Title
* 2 Composition
* 2.1 Number of members * 2.2 Layout
* 3 Duration * 4 Dissolution * 5 Ceann Comhairle * 6 Powers
* 7 Activities
* 7.1 Standing committees * 7.2 Select committees
* 8 Voting procedure
* 9 History
* 10 Current composition * 11 See also * 12 Notes * 13 References * 14 External links
A dáil means an assembly or parliament, so a literal translation of
In common usage, the word Dáil is accompanied by the definite
The plural Dálaí is used when referring to the Dáil as constituted following different elections; for example, when referring to the First and Second Dálaí.
The Dáil electorate consists of Irish and British citizens over 18
years of age who are registered to vote in Ireland. Under the
Constitution of Ireland a general election for
The STV electoral system broadly produces proportional representation in the Dáil. The small size of the constituencies used, however, usually gives a small advantage to the larger parties and under-represents smaller parties. Since the 1990s the norm in the state has been coalition governments. Prior to 1989, however, one-party government by the Fianna Fáil party was common. The multi-seat constituencies required by STV mean that candidates must often compete for election with others from the same party. This increases voter choice but is accused by some of producing TDs who are excessively parochial. Two failed attempts – 1959 and 1968 – have been made to change to the United Kingdom's plurality voting system ('first-past-the-post') electoral system. Both were rejected in referendums . By-elections occur under the alternative vote system.
Currently every constituency elects between three and five TDs. The constitution specifies that no constituency may return fewer than three TDs but does not specify any upper limit to constituency magnitude. However, statute (Section 6 of the Electoral Act 1997) specifies a maximum of five seats per constituency. The constitution requires that constituency boundaries be reviewed at least once in every twelve years, so that boundaries may be redrawn to accommodate changes in population. Boundary changes are currently drafted by an independent commission, and its recommendations are usually followed. Malapportionment is forbidden by the constitution. Under the Constitution, the commission is required to refer to the most recent Census of Ireland when considering boundary changes.
NUMBER OF MEMBERS
Number of members DáIL ELECTION TDS
1st 1918 105
2nd 1921 180
3rd 1922 128
4th 1923 153
5th Jun. 1927 153
6th Sep. 1927 153
7th 1932 153
8th 1933 153
9th 1937 138
10th 1938 138
11th 1943 138
12th 1944 138
13th 1948 147
14th 1951 147
15th 1954 147
16th 1957 147
17th 1961 144
18th 1965 144
19th 1969 144
20th 1973 144
21st 1977 148
22nd 1981 166
23rd Feb. 1982 166
24th Nov. 1982 166
25th 1987 166
26th 1989 166
27th 1992 166
28th 1997 166
29th 2002 166
30th 2007 166
31st 2011 166
32nd 2016 158
Constitution of Ireland there must never be fewer than one
TD for every thirty thousand of the population, nor more than one for
every twenty thousand. In the 29th Dáil there was one TD for every
25,000 citizens, in line with many other
European Union member state
national parliament ratios with
The Dáil chamber has confrontational benches but the end segment is curved to create a partial hemicycle . The government TDs sit on the Ceann Comhairle 's left, with the main opposition party on his right. The Chamber was adapted for use as a Parliament from its former use as a lecture theatre.
The First Dáil Éireann was established in January 1919 as the single chamber parliament of the Irish Republic. One of the first actions of the Dáil was to ratify a constitution, commonly known as the Dáil Constitution . As a provisional constitution it made no reference to the length of the term of each Dáil. The first and second Dáil existed under the provisions of this constitution. Neither was recognised by the British government or the governments of other countries as the 'lawful' parliament of Ireland.
Following the signing of the 1922 Anglo-Irish Treaty , which brought the Irish War of Independence to an end, the single chamber Dáil became the lower house of a new bicameral Oireachtas, the parliament of the newly established Irish Free State . Under the treaty, a new constitution replaced the 1919 Dáil constitution.
Article 28 of the Constitution of the Irish Free State (1922) set the maximum term for the Dáil at four years. However, this constitution also provided for a mechanism which allowed the Oireachtas to ratify constitutional amendments by way of primary legislation, without the need for such amendments to first be approved by the Irish public in a referendum. This provision was to remain in effect for a period of eight years after the Free State constitution came into force (i.e. 6 December 1930). After that date constitutional amendments would require ratification by way of public referendum before they could come into force.
In 1927 the
Oireachtas enacted the Constitution (Amendment No 4) Act.
This Act amended Article 28 of the Free State Constitution by
extending the maximum term of
On 29 December 1937, the
Irish Free State ceased to exist and was
replaced by a new state called Ireland, with the coming into force of
Constitution of Ireland . Article 16.5 of the 1937
constitution states that "
Article 16.3.2 of the
Constitution of Ireland (1937) provides that an
election for the membership of
The procedure and timetable for the dissolution of Dáil Éireann, pursuant to a general election, and the date for the reassembly of the newly elected Dáil, after the election, is set out in the Constitution of Ireland. Article 13.2.1 states that "Dáil Éireann shall be summoned and dissolved by the President on the advice of the Taoiseach". So the timing of a general election rests with the Taoiseach of the day.
Once so advised by the Taoiseach, the President issues a proclamation which specifies the date on which the current Dáil is dissolved, and the date on which the newly elected Dáil must first meet.
The timing for polling day in a general election is decided on by the Taoiseach. However, this is governed within a specified statutory framework. Once the Presidential proclamation is issued, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government sets, by way of a ministerial order, the date and time of polling day in the election.
Section 39(1) of the Electoral Act 1992 states: “Where the Dáil is dissolved, the Clerk of the Dáil shall, immediately upon the issue of the Proclamation dissolving the Dáil, issue a writ to each returning officer for a constituency directing him to cause an election to be held of the full number of members of the Dáil to serve in the Dáil for that constituency.”
Section 96 of the Electoral Act 1992 states: "(1) A poll at a Dáil
election— (a) shall be taken on such day as shall be appointed by
the Minister by order, being a day which (disregarding any excluded
day) is not earlier than the seventeenth day or later than the
twenty-fifth day next following the day on which the writ or writs for
the election is or are issued, (b) shall continue for such period,
not being less than twelve hours, between the hours of 8 a.m. and
10.30 p.m. as may be fixed by the Minister by order, subject to the
restriction that, in the case of a general election, he shall fix the
same period for all constituencies. (2) An order under this section
shall be published in the
For the purposes of the Act an "excluded day" means a day which is a Sunday, Good Friday or a day which is declared to be a public holiday by the Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973, or a day which by virtue of a statute or proclamation is a public holiday.
So, if the Dáil were dissolved on a Tuesday 1 February (in a non-leap year), and the writs for elections issued by the Clerk of the Dáil on that day, then the earliest date for polling day would be Monday 21 February (17 days later, excluding Sundays) and the latest date for polling would be Wednesday 2 March (25 days after, excluding Sundays), with polling stations being open for a minimum 12-hour period between the hours of 8am and 10.30pm on polling day (as set out in the ministerial order). In such a scenario, the latest date by which the newly elected Dáil must assemble would be Wednesday 23 March (for a 21 February polling date), or Friday 1 April (for a 2 March polling date).
Main article: Ceann Comhairle
The chairman, or presiding member, of
While in principle
In addition to its legislative role, it is the Dáil that designates the Taoiseach for referral to the President for appointment. The Dáil may also pass a motion of no confidence in the Government , in which case the Taoiseach must either seek a parliamentary dissolution or resign.
The Dáil also has exclusive power to:
* Nominate the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) * Approve the Taoiseach's nominees (en bloc) to serve as Government ministers * Approve the Taoiseach's nominee for Attorney General * Approve the budget * Ratify treaties which include financial provisions (Provided they do not conflict with the Constitution of Ireland) * Approve a declaration of war * Initiate 'money bills' or bills which incur a charge on the public finances (on the recommendation of the Government only) * Nominate the Comptroller and Auditor General
Leinster House in Dublin, seat of Dáil Éireann.
A typical day consists of questions to various cabinet ministers, Leaders questions whereby opposition Leaders ask the Taoiseach questions and routine debates on Bills. Every Tuesday and Wednesday three hours over the two days are given to the debate of opposition motions. These normally try to embarrass the government and are widely covered in the media. The government and its Majority normally amends these suitably and the amended version is passed by the Government.
Debate and speeches are generally spoken in English, but it is still acceptable for TDs to switch back and forth between Irish and English.
The Ceann Comhairle has ruled that it is disorderly for one deputy to describe another as a brat , buffoon , chancer, communist, corner boy, coward, fascist, gurrier, guttersnipe , hypocrite , rat, scumbag, scurrilous speaker or yahoo; or to insinuate that a TD is lying or drunk; or has violated the secrets of cabinet, or doctored an official report. Also, the reference to "handbagging", particularly with reference to a female member of the House, has been deemed to be unparliamentary. The Dáil maintains a document, Salient Rulings of the Chair which covers behaviour in and out of the House by TDs; section 428 of this lists unparliamentary speech.
* Committee on Administration * Committee on Consolidation Bills * Committee on Members' Interests of Dáil Éireann
* Committee on Procedure and Privileges
* Sub-committee on Compellability * Sub-committee on Dáil Reform
* Committee of Public Accounts
* Select committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture
* Select sub-committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources * Select sub-committee on Agriculture, Marine and Food
* Select committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht
* Select sub-committee on Environment, Community and Local Government * Select sub-committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport * Select sub-committee on Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
* Select committee on European Union Affairs * Select committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade
* Select committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
* Select sub-committee on Finance * Select sub-committee on Public Expenditure and Reform
* Select committee on Health and Children
* Select sub-committee on Health * Select Sub-committee on Children and Youth Affairs
* Select committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement * Select committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions
* Select committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education
* Select sub-committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation * Select sub-committee on Social Protection * Select sub-committee on Education and Skills
* Select committee on Justice, Defence and Equality
Firstly the Ceann Comhairle (or Deputy Ceann Comhairle) puts the question in Irish asking the TDs present to say Tá (Yes) or Níl (No) if they agree or disagree with the question before them. The Ceann Comhairle then gives his opinion as to the outcome of the voice vote. Deputies can challenge the Ceann Comhairle and demand a recorded vote by shouting Vótáil! (Vote!) The Ceann Comhairle then shouts 'Vótáil' again which starts the voting process. Division bells sound around Leinster House and in some of its adjoining buildings calling Deputies to the chamber to vote. The bells ring for six minutes and the doors to the chamber are locked after a further four minutes.
The Ceann Comhairle then appoints two tellers for each side and Deputies are given one minute to vote. The vote is taken by electronic means whereby Deputies press either the Tá or Níl button on their desks to vote for or against a motion. After the voting time has concluded a sheet (Division Paper) containing the result and each TDs vote is signed by the four tellers and given to the Ceann Comhairle who declares the result.
While electronic voting has become the norm the Dáil votes manually through the lobbies at the back of the chamber on a number of occasions, for example, motions of no confidence. A teller in an electronic vote can call a manual vote if they so wish. This has become an opposition tactic during important votes which are widely covered in the media.
The first legislature to exist in Ireland was the Parliament of
Ireland from 1297 to 1800, and the first legislative lower house was
the House of Commons of this body. However the Parliament of Ireland
was abolished under the Act of Union of 1800. Irish nationalists first
In 1921 the United Kingdom government established a legislature
Parliament of Southern Ireland in an effort to appease
nationalists by granting Ireland limited home rule . However this body
was rejected and boycotted by nationalists whose allegiance remained
with the Dáil. Nonetheless, because the
First Dáil was illegal under
the United Kingdom constitution, the lower house of the Parliament of
Southern Ireland, the
House of Commons of Southern Ireland
REVOLUTIONARY DáIL (1919–1922)
Main article: Dáil Éireann (Irish Republic)
The current Dáil derives from the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, but
claims a direct line of descent from the '
First Dáil ' of 1919. This
Dáil was an assembly established by
Sinn Féin MPs elected to the
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The Dáil of the Irish Republic, however, was only recognised
internationally by the
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic .
The first meeting of the Dáil occurred in
IRISH FREE STATE (1922–1937)
Main article: Dáil Éireann (Irish Free State)
The Dáil of the
Irish Republic was succeeded in 1922 by the Dáil of
Irish Free State . The Irish Free State, comprising the twenty-six
southern and western counties of Ireland, was established under the
Anglo-Irish Treaty .
CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND (SINCE 1937)
The Constitution of Ireland , adopted in 1937, established the modern Irish state, referred to today as Ireland. Under the constitution a new legislature retained the title Oireachtas, and its lower house remained Dáil Éireann. The first Dáil to meet under the Constitution of Ireland was described as the Ninth Dáil.
Main article: Members of the 32nd Dáil
Fine Gael 50
Fianna Fáil 44
Sinn Féin 23
Labour Party 7
Social Democrats 2
Green Party 2
Dáil Éireann election summary
* Elections in the
Republic of Ireland
* ^ "Dáil: definition of Dáil in Oxford dictionary (British &
World English). Meaning, pronunciation and origin of the word". Oxford
Language Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 30
* ^ A B Article 15.1.2° of the
Constitution of Ireland reads: "The
Oireachtas shall consist of the President and two Houses, viz.: a
House of Representatives to be called
* v * t * e
Politics of the
Republic of Ireland