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map courtesy CIA World Factbook; click for enlargement Constitution, Government & Legislation Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state with a parliamentary system of government. The president, who serves as chief of state in a largely ceremonial role, is elected for a 7-year term and can be re-elected only once. In carrying out certain constitutional powers and functions, the president is aided by the Council of State, an advisory body. On the Taoiseach's (prime minister's) advice, the president also dissolves the Oireachtas (Parliament).

The president appoints as prime minister the leader of the political party, or coalition of parties, which wins the most seats in the Dail (house of representatives). Executive power is vested in a cabinet whose ministers are nominated by the Taoiseach and approved by the Dail.

The bicameral Oireachtas (parliament) consists of the Seanad Eireann (senate) and the Dail Eireann (house of representatives). The Seanad is composed of 60 members--11 nominated by the prime minister, 6 elected by the national universities, and 43 elected from panels of candidates established on a vocational basis. The Senate has the power to delay legislative proposals and is allowed 90 days to consider and amend bills sent to it by the Dail, which wields greater power in parliament. The Dail has 166 members popularly elected to a maximum term of 5 years under a complex system of proportional representation.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Courts & Judgments

Irish judges are appointed by the president on nomination by the government and can be removed from office only for misbehavior or incapacity and then only by resolution of both houses of parliament. The ultimate court of appeal is the Supreme Court, consisting of the Chief Justice and five other justices. The Supreme Court also can decide upon the constitutionality of legislative acts if the president asks for an opinion.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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