Irish Political History and Structure

Topics: Republic of Ireland, Sinn Féin, Northern Ireland Pages: 5 (1583 words) Published: April 29, 2005
The modern political history of Ireland can be separated into two time periods. The first period is it's time spent under British rule as only one territory of the United Kingdom. The second period, which represents the beginning of the modern Irish state, took place during the early twentieth century. The road to national sovereignty was neither easy nor short as Britain was far from eager to let its dependent state go. The first organized movement towards independence occurred in 1916 when revolutionaries declared Ireland to be free from British rule on Easter of that year. Despite the ultimate failure of this initial push towards freedom Britain eventually granted the southern 26, of 38, counties dominion status in 1921. Further steps were taken in 1937 when Ireland drafted its constitution and was granted full sovereignty. The final phase in southern Ireland's independence came in 1949 when its status as a British commonwealth ended and the nation was declared a republic. However, even after disassociating itself from the United Kingdom the southern counties of Ireland wouldn't be completely satisfied as long as the remaining 6 counties that comprised Northern Ireland were still a part of Britain's empire. The predominantly protestant northern counties of Ireland have been a barrier to peace in the region from the first days of the Republic up to today. These counties are considered as a separate state but can also be considered as the same nation. This topic will be explored in more depth after the explanations of both the current Irish state as well as what can be considered the Irish nation.

The state of Ireland encompasses 26 of the islands 32 counties and occupies all but the northeastern quarter of the island. The national government is a Republican Democracy and consists of a duel executive, a bicameral legislature and a judicial branch. The Executive branch is split into two parts and is considered to follow a variation of the Duel Executive model. The head of state in the executive branch is the president, or Uachtaran, who is directly elected by the citizens and serves a seven year term. The Executive power of the state is exercised by the cabinet, which is led by the Prime Minister. Ireland's executive system can be considered to be a variation of the duel executive method due to the fact that the head of state is not purely ceremonial in purpose. The President holds many important functions in government including appointing the Prime Minister and his cabinet under supervision of the Dail, being in command of defense forces, referring bills to the people for referendum, referring bills to the Supreme Court for review of constitutionality and also councils government officials. These roles are hardly merely ceremonial and each power has importance in Irish politics. The current President, Mary McAleese, was elected in 1997 and is up for re-election at the end of this year.

The Prime Minister must be a member of the Dáil Éireann, also known as the majority party. His powers include answering questions in parliament where broad policy is concerned, or where issues specific to his department are concerned, sponsoring legislation which represents important new developments. Nominating the Tánaiste and the other members of the Government for the approval of the Dáil and assigning the particular Departments to the Ministers on their appointment by the President. The Prime Minister also nominates the Attorney General for appointment by the President, has the power to advise the President to accept the resignation of Ministers, and nominates eleven persons to serve in Seanad Éireann. The Prime minister, as head of the Government, is the central coordinator of the work of the Ministers and their Departments of State. He also advises and guides the other members of the Government including the President. The current Prime minister is Bertie Ahern . However the Prime Minister is not...
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