Taoiseach - Overview


Under the Constitution of Ireland, the Taoiseach must be appointed from among the members of Dáil Éireann. He is nominated by a simple majority of the chamber's members, and formally appointed to office by the President. Since the President is required to appoint whomever the Dáil nominates without the right to decline appointment, it is often said that the Taoiseach is "elected" by the Dáil.

In the event that the Taoiseach loses the support of a majority in Dáil Éireann, he is not automatically removed from office but, rather, is compelled to either resign or persuade the President to dissolve the Dáil. The President may refuse to grant a dissolution and, in effect, force the Taoiseach to resign, but, to date, no president has exercised this prerogative (though the option arose in 1944 and 1994 and twice in 1982). The Taoiseach may lose the support of Dáil Éireann by the passage of a vote of no confidence, the failure of a vote of confidence or, alternatively, the Dáil may refuse supply. In the event of the Taoiseach's resignation, he continues to exercise the duties and functions of his office until the appointment of a successor.

The Taoiseach nominates the remaining members of the Government, who are then, with the consent of the Dáil, appointed by the President. The Taoiseach also has authority to advise the President to dismiss cabinet ministers from office, advice the President is required to follow by convention. He or she is further responsible for appointing eleven members of the Seanad.

The Department of the Taoiseach is the government department which supports and advises the Taoiseach in carrying out his various duties.

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