Irish political system

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign state with a representative democracy under a parliamentary system with a president , prime minister and parliament . The capital is Dublin and Ireland is part of the European Union and the Eurozone . The two largest parties are Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael .

In the 2019 Democracy Index, Ireland ranks 6th out of 167 countries, making it a “full democracy”.



The constitution, officially called Bunreacht na hÉireann , is the highest level of law in Ireland and is liberally democratic . It defines the organs of government and grants fundamental rights. The constitution can be changed by constitutional amendment, which must be voted on by referendum .

Head of state

The President (Uachtarán) holds the highest office in Ireland, is de facto head of state and, in addition to some exclusive rights, has mostly ceremonial tasks. The president is elected by the people by direct and secret ballot, the candidates are proposed by the parties. The term of office is 7 years, with a maximum of two terms of office.


Executive power is exercised through the cabinet (government). The government consists of the Prime Minister ( Taoiseach ), the Deputy Prime Minister ( Tánaiste ) and up to 13 other ministers and is de jure collective head of state. The Taoiseach is nominated by the Dáil and installed by the President. The remaining ministers are nominated by the Taoiseach and accepted (or not) by the Dáil. The government needs the trust of the Dáil Éireann - should it no longer have it, the Taoiseach must either resign or ask the president to dissolve the Dáil, which leads to a new election.

legislative branch

The Parliament of the Republic of Ireland is the Oireachtas . It consists of the Irish President and the two houses Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives, House of Commons) and Seanad Éireann (Senate, House of Lords). The Dáil is the dominant part of the legislature, as the President (almost) cannot veto bills and the Senate can only postpone but not reject laws.

The Dáil is elected at least every 5 years directly under the single transferable vote system. The women's suffrage led Ireland a 1,922th Since the 1990s there has been no one-party majority in the Dail, so that coalition governments are now common.

The Senate is largely an advisory body and consists of 60 members: 11 by the Taoiseach, 6 by national universities and 43 by various electoral lists. The Senate can only postpone bills for up to 90 days, but not reject them.


The judicial system in Ireland consists of the Supreme Court , the High Court and various lower courts. Judges are nominated by the government, appointed by the Irish President and can only be removed from office in the event of serious misconduct.

Kreisverwaltung (local government)

County government in Ireland is governed by the Local Government Act of 2001 , which introduced a two-tier structure.

The top layer consists of 29 county councils (county councils) . 24 of Ireland's 26 (traditional) counties have one, Dublin has three ( Fingal , South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown ) and Tipperary two (North and South Tipperary) such councils. For this coming city councils (councilors) from Dublin, Cork , Galway , Limerick and Waterford , which the county councils are equal.

The second layer consists of the town councils (local councils) . The city councils of Kilkenny and Sligo , Drogheda , Clonmel and Wexford allowed the title of borough council (county council) instead of town council contribute, otherwise but have no further powers.

The various district administrations have their responsibilities for B. in the areas of planning, roads, sewage and libraries. Each council has an official chief executive of the council who is also a government official appointed by the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission . The Irish Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is responsible for local government and related duties.

After the abolition of property taxes in the late 1970s , it became increasingly difficult for councils to obtain funding, so fees were levied on water and waste, which in some areas were not paid on a large scale. As a result, the councils are heavily dependent on government funding, which has resulted in a highly centralized system of local governments.

North-South Ministerial Council

Under the Good Friday Agreement and Article 3 of the Constitution, a North-South Ministerial Council and 6 North-South Executive Bodies coordinate the joint activities of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and have limited executive power throughout the island. It is currently uncertain whether this council will continue to exist.


A number of political parties are represented in the Daíl and coalition governments have been common since the 1990s. Neither of the two strongest parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is characterized by the right-left division. Third largest party is the center-left Labor Party . Also left-wing are the Greens , Sinn Féin , the Communist Party of Ireland , the Workers Party and the Socialist Party . The Progressive Democrats , a liberal party, was dissolved on November 8, 2008. In addition to these parties, Independent Candidates also play a major role in Irish politics.

Current government (election 2016)

Enda Kenny's government was narrowly confirmed in office in the 2016 Dáil Éireann election . In 2017, Kenny resigned, after which Leo Varadkar took over the business of government.


  • Thomas Saalfeld : Legislation in the political system of the Irish Republic . In: Wolfgang Ismayr (Ed.): Legislation in Western Europe. EU countries and the European Union. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2008, pp. 201–228.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Democracy-Index 2019 Overview chart with comparative values ​​to previous years , on
  2. ^ Jad Adams: Women and the Vote. A world history. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-870684-7 , page 437
  3. Retrieved October 18, 2018 .