Irish government

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The Irish Government ( Irish : Rialtas na hÉireann ) is the cabinet that exercises executive power in the Republic of Ireland . The government is headed by a Prime Minister (the so-called Taoiseach ) and a Deputy Prime Minister (the so-called Tánaiste ). The Taoiseach is instituted by the Irish President after being appointed by the House of Commons ( Dáil Éireann ). The President then appoints the remaining government ministers on the proposal of the Taoiseach (with the approval of the Dáil). The government needs the trust of the Dáil to stay in office.


The Irish Constitution is a little unusual for a Republican Constitution in that it explicitly gives executive power to the government. According to the constitution, the government must consist of 7 to 15 ministers, all of whom must belong to the parliament ( Oireachtas ). No more than two ministers may come from the ranks of the upper house and the Taoiseach (nominal head of government, prime minister), the Tánaiste (vice prime minister) and the finance minister must come from the lower house.

The government is advised by the attorney general, who is formally not part of the government, but attends government meetings; the same applies to the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach . The individual members of the government are also by Minister of State (Minister of State) supported, but not part of the government are still participate in the meetings.

In the event that the Taoiseach no longer has the trust of the majority in the Dáil Éireann, either the House of Commons must be dissolved on the proposal of the Taoiseach, or the Taoiseach himself must resign. The President can, however, reject the House of Commons' request to dissolve the Taoiseach and thus force the Taoiseach to resign. The resignation of a Taoiseach also applies to the entire government - in any case, day-to-day affairs remain in the hands of the resigned ministers until successors are elected.

The executive power of government includes some restrictions:

  • The state cannot declare a state of war without the consent of the Dáil Éireann
  • State treaties must be ratified by the Dáil
  • The government must act in accordance with the Constitution

If the government does not comply with its constitutional obligations or does not act in its favor, this can be sued by a court order. Ministers who fail to comply with such an order may be convicted of disregard of the court and imprisoned.


Government in its current form dates back to 1937, when the Constitution of Ireland came into force, and the Ministers and Secretaries Act of 1924, which detailed the roles and status of government. The forerunner of the government in its present form was the Executive Council of the Irish Free State (1922–1937).

A number of government posts and ministries from the past no longer exist today (due to renaming or amalgamation). These are in detail:

  • Communications Minister (Minister for Communications)
  • Minister of Labor (Minister for Labor)
  • Postmaster General (Minister for Posts and Telegraphs)
  • Minister for the Public Service
  • Minister for Supplies in World War II

The " minister without portfolio " (minister without portfolio) is possible in principle, but has not been used for the 1977th

Since the 1990s, all governments have consisted of coalitions of two or more parties. In this case, the position of the Tánaiste is provided by the second largest coalition party.

List of current ministries

  • Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
  • Ministry of Finance (Department of Finance)
  • Ministry of Economy, Enterprise and Innovation (Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Ministry of Justice and Equality (Department of Justice and Equality)
  • Ministry of Defense (Department of Defense)
  • Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (Department of Employment and Social Affairs Protection)
  • Education and Science Ministry (Department of Education and Skills)
  • Ministry of Health (Department of Health)
  • Ministry of Children and Youth Affairs (Department of Children and Youth Affairs)
  • Ministry of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
  • Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)
  • Ministry of Rural and Community Development (Department of Rural and Community Development)
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine)
  • Ministry of government spending and reform (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Ministry of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport)
  • Ministry of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government)

Current government

After the general election on February 26, 2016 , from which Fine Gael emerged victorious again, Enda Kenny formed a new cabinet. In 2017, Kenny resigned, handing the post of prime minister over to Leo Varadkar .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Departments. Government of Ireland website, accessed February 1, 2020.

Web links