Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


This article is part of the series
Politics of the R. of Ireland
Council of State
Dáil Éireann
Seanad Éireann
Supreme Court
The Oireachtas (English: Legislature) is the 'National Parliament' of the Republic of Ireland. The Oireachtas consists of the President of Ireland and two houses: Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann (also known as the Senate). However the Dáil is by far the its most powerful branch. Both Houses of the Oireachtas currently reside in Leinster House in Dublin.

Table of contents
1 Powers
2 History
3 Related topics
4 External link
5 Alternative meaning


To become law a bill must theoretically first be approved by both the Dáil and the Senate, and then signed into law by the President. In most circumstances, however, the President is obliged to sign all laws approved by the Houses of the Oireachtas, and the powers of the Senate are limited to delay rather than veto. It is the Dáil, therefore, that is the supreme tier of the Irish legislature. Under the Constitution of Ireland the Oireachtas has exclusive power to:

The authority of the Oireachtas is, however, subject to certain limitations:


The word Oireachtas is the Irish Gaelic for legislature, and has been the title of two parliaments in Irish history: the current Oireachtas of the Republic of Ireland, since 1937, and, immediately before that, the Oireachtas of the 1922-1937 Irish Free State.

The earliest parliament in Ireland was the Parliament of Ireland in existence until 1801. This parliament governed the whole island of Ireland but was, over its history, subordinate to varying degrees to the English, and later British, Parliament. The Irish Parliament consisted of the King of Ireland, a House of the Lords and a House of Commons. In 1801 the Irish Parliament abolished itself when it adopted the Act of Union.

The next legislature to exist in Ireland only came into being in 1919. This was an extra-legal, unicameral parliament establish by Irish nationalists, known simply as Dáil Éireann (translated as 'Assembly of Ireland'). The First Dáil, as it is known, was notionally a legislature for the whole island of Ireland. In 1920, parallel to the First Dáil, the British government created a home rule legislature entitled the Parliament of Southern Ireland. However this parliament was boycotted by Irish nationalists and so never came into full effect. It was made up of the King (in this case the monarch of Great Britain and Ireland), the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and the Senate of Southern Ireland. The Parliament of Southern Ireland was formally abolished in 1922, with the establishment of the Oireachtas under the Constitution of the Irish Free State.

The Oireachtas of the Irish Free State consisted officially of the King of Ireland and two houses, named, as their successors would be, Dáil Éireann (described, in this case, as a 'Chamber of Deputies') and Seanad Éireann. However the Free State Senate was abolished in 1935. The modern Oireachtas of the Republic of Ireland came into being in 1937, with the adoption by referendum of the Constitution of Ireland.

Related topics

External link

Alternative meaning

An oireachtas is also an important competition in Irish dance.