Government and Dáil Éireann

Information

Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution) states that the Government is responsible to Dáil Éireann. This means that the Government holds office only for as long as it keeps the support of the majority of the members of Dáil Éireann.

The Taoiseach may resign voluntarily and if he/she does, all of the Cabinet ministers are also considered to have resigned. A new nomination for Taoiseach will be put before the Dáil and the Dail will approve a new Taoiseach.

If the Taoiseach fails to keep the support of the majority of the Dáil, he or she must either resign or advise the President to dissolve the Dáil. This may happen if a coalition government can no longer work together.

If the Dáil is dissolved, there will then be a general election. Following the election, the nomination for Taoiseach must then obtain the support of the majority of the members of the new Dáil.

The Government meets and acts as a collective authority and is collectively responsible for all the Departments of State.

Discussions at Cabinet meetings are confidential. The Government presents a united front and all the ministers must publicly support its major policies and decisions.

The Taoiseach has the power to dismiss ministers if there is sufficient reason to do so although this power is rarely exercised. It may happen if the minister has become embroiled in some public controversy or if there is a challenge to the leadership of the party.

Ministers may also voluntarily resign. This may happen if the minister does not agree with a Government policy.

Page edited: 22 April 2015