Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann


The first thing that a new Seanad does after a general election is to elect a Cathaoirleach from the Senators. The Cathaoirleach is the chairperson of the Seanad and must act impartially.

The Cathaoirleach chairs the proceedings in the House and can nominate a panel of temporary Chairpersons from the Senators to assist. You can find details of the current Cathaoirleach here.

The Cathaoirleach has a number of important functions:

  • Calling on members to speak. All speeches in the Seanad must be directed to the Cathaoirleach. The Cathaoirleach 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 Seanad for voting, supervising the voting and declaring the results.
  • Keeping proceedings under control and maintaining order in the Seanad. The Cathaoirleach can order members to leave the Seanad and can recommend that certain members be disciplined by the Seanad. If there is great disorder, the Cathaoirleach can suspend or adjourn the Seanad.
  • Supervising procedure in the Seanad - making sure that motions and amendments conform to the rules relating to procedure in the Seanad. The Cathaoirleach is the Chairperson of the Seanad Committee of Procedure and Privileges, which considers matters of procedure generally and recommends amendments to the Standing Orders. The Standing Orders are a list of rules of procedure that are applied by the Cathaoirleach.
  • The Cathaoirleach has the casting vote in any case where there is a tie or equality of votes in the Seanad.
  • The Cathaoirleach represents the Seanad at international meetings of parliamentarians.

Page edited: 5 May 2015