The first thing that a new Dáil does after a general election is to elect a Ceann Comhairle from the members of the Dáil. The Ceann Comhairle has the unique role of being the chairperson of the Dáil. Even though they are a member of a political party, they must act impartially and must try to ensure that all parties and independent members are treated fairly. You can find information on the the current Ceann Comhairle here.
Because the Ceann Comhairle cannot actively engage in politics once they are appointed, the Constitution states that they will be automatically re-elected in a general election.
The Ceann Comhairle chairs the proceedings in the house and has a number of important functions;
- Calling on members to speak. All speeches in the Dáil must be directed to the Ceann Comhairle. The Ceann Comhairle can put forward a motion for the closure of a debate when they consider that the issue has been adequately discussed.
- Putting questions to the Dáil for voting, supervising the voting and declaring the results.
- Keeping proceedings under control and maintaining order in the Dáil. The Ceann Comhairle can order members to leave the Dáil and can recommend that certain members be disciplined by the Dáil. If there is great disorder, the Ceann Comhairle can suspend or adjourn the Dáil.
- Supervising procedure in the Dáil - making sure that motions, amendments and Parliamentary Questions conform to the rules relating to procedure in the Dáil. The Ceann Comhairle is the Chairperson of the Committee of Procedure and Privileges, which considers amendment or additions to the Standing Orders. The Standing Orders is a list of rules of procedure that are applied by the Ceann Comhairle.
- The Ceann Comhairle has the casting vote in any case where there is a tie or equality of votes in the Dáil.