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What are the powers of Uachtarán na hÉireann?

statsman

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Feb 25, 2011
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55,059
With what feels like something approaching 10% of the electorate seeking nominations for the upcoming Presidential election, I thought it might be time to look at what the job they’re applying for actually entails. We’re all aware of the ‘ambassadorial’ element; the President represents the state on overseas visits and in visits to community groups around the country, attendance at funerals and commemorations, and so on.

On top of this, under Bunreacht, the President has some clearly and narrowly defined powers:

  1. Appointment of the Taoiseach, members of the Government, judges and other officials;
  2. Summoning and dissolving the Dáil, and convening the Oireachtas;
  3. Signing legislation into law and/or referring Bills to the Supreme Court;
  4. Representing the people of Ireland;
  5. Acting as Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces.


For number 1, the ‘appointment’ of the Taoiseach is a rubber-stamping of the Dáil vote, and the ministers are appointed on the advice of the Taoiseach, again after a vote of the Dáil. The Government also nominate Judges, the Attorney General, the Comptroller and Auditor General, and Commissioned officers of the Defence Forces and the President rubber-stamps these, also.

For 2: The President dissolves the Dáil almost always at the request of the Taoiseach. The exception is if the Taoiseach loses the support of the Dail but fails to request a dissolution. In this case the President may issue a proclamation dissolving the Dáil. Theoretically, the President can refuse to dissolve the Dáil and insist that they try to form a new government from among their members; this power has never actually been exercised. Following a GE, the President summons the Dáil to reconvene, again on the advice of the Taoiseach.

Additionally, the President has the power to communicate concerns to the Dáil, but any such communication must first be approved by the government. The President can also convene special sittings of one or both houses of the Oireachtas, in consultation with the Council of State. Again, this power has never been exercised.

For 3: The President must sign legislation adopted by the Oireachtas into law or refer them to the Supreme Court to decide on constitutionality. There is no third alternative of simply refusing to sign. The power to refer to the SC is probably the most significant part of the role.

For 4: This is the ambassadorial role, in essence.

For 5: This is a figurehead role, as the Defence Act (1954) places military command in the hands of government, via the Minister for Defence.

So, if you see a candidate claiming that they will solve the housing problem, wipe out corruption in public life, provide free ice cream for everyone in the audience, of guarantee 4 months sunshine every summer, be sure to ask which of their powers will allow them to do so. Because they won’t have an answer, and they won’t keep their election ‘promises’.

https://www.president.ie/en/the-president/constitutional-role
 


Lumpy Talbot

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No
Presidents can dazzle rabbits with a single look. Even in daylight.
 

artfoley56

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Mar 24, 2011
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With what feels like something approaching 10% of the electorate seeking nominations for the upcoming Presidential election, I thought it might be time to look at what the job they’re applying for actually entails. We’re all aware of the ‘ambassadorial’ element; the President represents the state on overseas visits and in visits to community groups around the country, attendance at funerals and commemorations, and so on.

On top of this, under Bunreacht, the President has some clearly and narrowly defined powers:

  1. Appointment of the Taoiseach, members of the Government, judges and other officials;
  2. Summoning and dissolving the Dáil, and convening the Oireachtas;
  3. Signing legislation into law and/or referring Bills to the Supreme Court;
  4. Representing the people of Ireland;
  5. Acting as Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces.


For number 1, the ‘appointment’ of the Taoiseach is a rubber-stamping of the Dáil vote, and the ministers are appointed on the advice of the Taoiseach, again after a vote of the Dáil. The Government also nominate Judges, the Attorney General, the Comptroller and Auditor General, and Commissioned officers of the Defence Forces and the President rubber-stamps these, also.

For 2: The President dissolves the Dáil almost always at the request of the Taoiseach. The exception is if the Taoiseach loses the support of the Dail but fails to request a dissolution. In this case the President may issue a proclamation dissolving the Dáil. Theoretically, the President can refuse to dissolve the Dáil and insist that they try to form a new government from among their members; this power has never actually been exercised. Following a GE, the President summons the Dáil to reconvene, again on the advice of the Taoiseach.

Additionally, the President has the power to communicate concerns to the Dáil, but any such communication must first be approved by the government. The President can also convene special sittings of one or both houses of the Oireachtas, in consultation with the Council of State. Again, this power has never been exercised.

For 3: The President must sign legislation adopted by the Oireachtas into law or refer them to the Supreme Court to decide on constitutionality. There is no third alternative of simply refusing to sign. The power to refer to the SC is probably the most significant part of the role.

For 4: This is the ambassadorial role, in essence.

For 5: This is a figurehead role, as the Defence Act (1954) places military command in the hands of government, via the Minister for Defence.

So, if you see a candidate claiming that they will solve the housing problem, wipe out corruption in public life, provide free ice cream for everyone in the audience, of guarantee 4 months sunshine every summer, be sure to ask which of their powers will allow them to do so. Because they won’t have an answer, and they won’t keep their election ‘promises’.

https://www.president.ie/en/the-president/constitutional-role
https://irishelectionliterature.com/2011/10/10/six-page-leaflet-michael-d-higgins-for-president-of-ireland-labour-party-2011-presidential-election/
 

Mitsui2

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Presidents can dazzle rabbits with a single look. Even in daylight.
Surely you're thinking of weasels - it's weasels that can dazzle rabbits with a single look, isn't it?

Might get a bit confused if Seán Gallagher gets elected, of course.
 

Cruimh

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Apr 30, 2010
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83,467
On top of this, under Bunreacht, the President has some clearly and narrowly defined powers:

  1. Appointment of the Taoiseach, members of the Government, judges and other officials;
  2. Summoning and dissolving the Dáil, and convening the Oireachtas;
  3. Signing legislation into law and/or referring Bills to the Supreme Court;
  4. Representing the people of Ireland;
  5. Acting as Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces.
Dev was obviously culturally appropriating Oliver Cromwell!
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
I'm so bored with presidential candidates who fail to use the office as it should be used when they get into office.

I don't know about any of you lads but I could cause ructions in a gig like that without ever breaking any law, regulation or statute.

Bollocks to the notion of the President behaving like he or she is a Protestant on a horse.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
His great, great, great Grandmother was supposedly from Skibbereen, so there was good blood in him
He was a fair hand with the horses. Not so good at guerilla warfare though. I suppose long enough away from Skibbereen and the natural aptitude begins to fade.
 

Notachipanoaktree

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]What are the powers of Uachtarán na hÉireann?
The One and Only job of the President is to protect the constitution.
We have not had one president in the last 50 years who either knew that, did that, or could do that.
We may as well put, the office, any living past Presidents, any contenders for the office, and the constitution itself, in the bin.
Indeed we may as well apply for readmission to the commonwealth, 'cos this is a sh*ithole.
 

CatullusV

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They'll be on doorsteps peddling their usual mushy stuff; what can be achieved with soft power etc.

Robinson spoke about opening up Aras to the people. In his spoof campaign Dustin the Turkey promised to open a 24 hour bowling alley in the basement.

Robbo talked of reaching out to the Diaspora and lit a candle.

The role of President as defined in Bunreacht is so strictured as to make it all but irrelevant who wins.

Eta: To be fair, Robinson and McAleese between them nurtured QE II to the extent that official visits took place.
 

CatullusV

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The One and Only job of the President is to protect the constitution.
We have not had one president in the last 50 years who either knew that, did that, or could do that.
We may as well put, the office, any living past Presidents, any contenders for the office, and the constitution itself, in the bin.
Indeed we may as well apply for readmission to the commonwealth, 'cos this is a sh*ithole.
When did a sitting president fail to defend Bunreacht?
 

Notachipanoaktree

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When did a sitting president fail to defend Bunreacht?
To sign, or not to sign? Presidents, Bills and the Supreme Court.

Calling a loaded Council of State with vested Interests in NOT Judicial Review,

The Constitution has never been defended by a President. Cowards one and all.
 

CatullusV

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To sign, or not to sign? Presidents, Bills and the Supreme Court.

Calling a loaded Council of State with vested Interests in NOT Judicial Review,

The Constitution has never been defended by a President. Cowards one and all.
That is the role as laid down in Bunreacht. You have to remember that the president is not bound by the Council of State. The decision must be "as a chomhairle fein".

What you describe is a President performing their duties correctly.
 

making waves

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Germany did fine without a President after the death of Hindenburg ...
The German President had the power to scrap Parliament - Wee Michael has no such power - indeed he has little power of any consequence and it could be easily replicated.

A €30million a year PR exercise.
 


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