The Attorney General is the adviser to the Government on matters of law and legal opinion. Article 30 of the Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann) created the office of the Attorney General. They are appointed by the President on the nomination of the Taoiseach and leaves the office if the Government changes. Usually the person appointed is a lawyer who is politically associated with the party in power.
While the Attorney General is not a member of the Government, they traditionally attend at Cabinet meetings. The Attorney General has an important role, including:
- Advising the Government on all the constitutional and legal issues which arise in connection with or at Government meetings. This includes advising whether proposed legislation complies with the provisions of the Irish Constitution, Acts and Treaties of the European Union or other international treaties to which Ireland has acceded.
- Representing the public in all legal proceedings for the enforcement of law and the assertion or protection of public rights
- Acting as lawyer for the State in virtually all civil litigation in which the State or its officers are official parties.
- Giving legal advice on matters that are submitted by the Government, departments and offices and drafting necessary accompanying legal documents
- Providing a solicitor service in all civil courts and tribunals in which the State, any State authority or the Attorney General is involved
The Attorney General's office oversees the Chief State Solicitor's Office and the Parliamentary Draftsman's Office.
Where to apply