Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Ceann Comhairle1 is the chairman or speaker of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament) of the Republic of Ireland. The person who holds the position is elected by members of the Dáil from among their number in the first session after each general election. The current Ceann Comhairle is Dr. Rory O'Hanlon, TD, Deputy for Cavan-Monaghan.
The Ceann Comhairle is expected to observe strict impartiality. Despite this, a government usually tries to select one of its own for the position, if its numbers allow. In order to protect the neutrality of the chair, the Irish constitution provides that an incumbent Ceann Comhairle does not seek re-election as a TD (member of the Dáil) but rather is deemed automatically to have been re-elected by their constitutuency at a general election, unless they are retiring2. As a consequence, the constituency that an incumbent Ceann Comhairle theoretically represents returns one less TD in a general election than its usual entitlement. The Ceann Comhairle does not vote except in the event of a tie. In this event they generally vote in accordance with the parliamentary conventions relating to the Speaker of the British House of Commons. The Ceann Comhairle is the sole judge of order in the house and has a number of special functions. Specifically, the Ceann Comhairle
- Calls on members to speak. All speeches must be addressed to the Ceann Comhairle.
- Puts such questions to the house and supervises and declares the results of divisions.
- Has authority to suppress disorder. To ensure obedience to his rulings the Ceann Comhairle may order members to withdraw from the Dáil or suspend an individual from the House for a period. In the case of great disorder the Ceann Comhairle can suspend or adjourn the house.
The position of Ceann Comhairle is as old as the Dáil, which was first established as an extra-legal parliament in 1919. The first Ceann Comhairle was Cathal Brugha, who served for only one day, presiding over the house's symbolic first meeting, before leaving the post to become Príomh Aire (prime minister). The office was continued under the 1922-1937 Irish Free State, the constitution of which referred to the office-holder as the "Chairman of Dáil Éireann". The practice of automatically re-electing the Ceann Comhairle in a general election was introduced by a constitutional amendment in 1927. For a brief period from 1936 to 1937, following the abolition of the office of Governor-General, certain of the Governor-General's functions were transferred to the Ceann Comhairle, who was assigned the role of signing bills into law and convening and dissolving the Dáil. The position of Ceann Comhairle was retained when the Constitution of Ireland was adopted in 1937, as was the practice of automatic re-election.
List of office-holders
|No.||Name||Took office||Left office||Party|
|1||Cathal Brugha||21 January 1919||22 January 1919||Sinn Féin|
|2||Seán T. O'Kelly3||22 January 1919||1921||Sinn Féin|
|3||Eoin MacNeill||1921||1922||Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty faction)|
|4||Michael Hayes||1922||1932||Cumann na nGaedheal|
|5||Frank Fahy||1932||1951||Fianna Fáil|
|7||Cormac Breslin||1967||1973||Fianna Fáil|
|8||Seán Treacy (1st time)||1973||1977||Labour|
|9||Joseph Brennan||1977||1980||Fianna Fáil|
|10||Pádraig Faulkner||1980||1981||Fianna Fáil|
|12||Tom Fitzpatrick||1982||1987||Fine Gael|
|Seán Treacy (2nd time)||1987||1997||Labour|
|14||Rory O'Hanlon||2002||(Current office-holder)||Fianna Fáil|
- Ceann Comhairle may be pronounced by English speakers as "kh-auwn corla" or "k-yan corl-ya".
- Article 16.6 of the constitution requires that "provision shall be made by law" such that the Ceann Comhairle "be deemed without any actual election to be elected a member of Dáil Éireann". The current law making such provision is the Electoral Act, 1992.
- Count Plunkett briefly chaired the Dáil on 22 January 1919. Seán T. O'Kelly was elected Ceann Comhairle later in the same day.
- Politics of the Republic of Ireland
- History of the Republic of Ireland
- Dáil Éireann (1919-1922)
- Dáil Éireann (Irish Free State)
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