Seperation of Powers in Ireland
Section 1- Introduction
The Constitution regulates the structure and functions of the principle organs of the government and also regulates the relationship between these institutions by setting out the balance of power between them. The constitution does this by means of the separation of powers between the three branches of government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Montesquieu divided the powers of government into three this is known as the triplet division. The Irish government advocates a tripartite separation of power involving: 1. The legislature – which function is the making of new laws and the alteration of repeal of existing ones. In Ireland the legislative organ of state is the Oireactas. 2. The executive - which function is the general administration of the state including the framing of policy this function is preformed by the government. 3. The judicial - which function consists of the interpretation of laws and there application to the facts of pacific cases. This function within the state is exercised by independent courts. However a complete separation of powers in the sense of a distribution of the three differing functions among three independent organs of the government with no co-operation would bring the government to a halt. There must be some interaction if a fair government is to continue. The doctrine does not forbid co-operation provided that each organ operates only in its area of competence and authority. The courts tend to be most protective of their own function and will not countenance interference with their expertise.
Section 2- The Legislature
“The legislative power, concerned with making laws, is the province of the National Parliament, the Oireachtas, consisting of the President, Dail Eireann and Seanad Eireann.” (Doolin 2007, p.14) There are five stages in Statute law making. “All primary legislation I.e. Acts of the Oireachtas start life as Bills, which are proposals for legislation. Bills can be introduced in either the Dail or Seanad and there are five stages in considering a Bill. Once the Bill has been passed by both houses, the Taoiseach presents a vellum copy of the Bill, prepared in the Office of the House of the Oireachtas to the President for the signature and promulgation as a law. The signed text is then enrolled for record in the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court.” The President is head of state “[He] shall take precedence over all other persons in the State..” (The Constitution of Ireland) .He/she is nominated by at least twenty members of the Dail and/or the Senate and is elected by the people of Ireland. He appoints the Taoiseach and with approval of the Dail, he appoints the other members of the Government. The President serves a seven year term and may serve two terms but no more than that. The Presidents function is “the Guardian of the Constitution” .Therefore, it is within their power to make sure that the proposed Bill does not go against any part of the Constitution, and if it does, refuse to pass it. “A Bill becomes law from the day it is signed by the President unless a contrey intention appears from the Bill. This date is printed in the statute after the introduction.” (Doolin 2007, p.28) Dail Eireann and Seanad Eireann are the two houses of the Oireachtas. Dail Eireann consists of 166 Tds (or deputies) representing 43 constituencies. These TDs are elected directly by the people of Ireland. The Dail and the Senate are said to have equal legislation power, but there are three different situations in which the Dail can overrule. “The first of these cases is Art.23, which provides that, if there is a disagreement between the two Houses, the Dail can overrule the Senate simply by passing a resolution. The...
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