Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Ceann Comhairle

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Inaugural holder  Cathal Brugha
Website  Official website
Formation  21 January 1919
Ceann Comhairle
Appointer  Elected by the members of Dáil Éireann at start of a new term after a general election.
Term length  No term limits are imposed on the office.

The Ceann Comhairle ([caːn̪ˠ ˈkoːɾʲlʲə], kahn korl-ah; "head of the council") is the chairperson (or speaker) of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament) 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 Ceann Comhairle of the 32nd Dáil is Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl, 8 June 2016.



The Ceann Comhairle is expected to observe strict impartiality. Despite this, a government usually tries to select a member of its own political party for the position, if it has enough deputies to allow that choice. In order to protect the neutrality of the chair, the Constitution of Ireland provides that an incumbent Ceann Comhairle does not seek re-election as a Teachta Dála (Deputy to the Dáil) but rather is deemed automatically to have been re-elected by their constituency at a general election, unless they are retiring. As a consequence, the constituency that an incumbent Ceann Comhairle represents elects one fewer TD in a general election than its usual entitlement, but still has the same number of TDs.

The Ceann Comhairle does not take part in debates nor 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, which tend to amount to voting against motions. The Ceann Comhairle formally opens each day's sitting by reading the official prayer. 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.
  • Rings a bell when deputies are out of order. The bell is a half-sized reproduction of the ancient bell of Lough Lene Castle found at Castle Island, Lough Lene, Castlepollard, County Westmeath in 1881 and now in the National Museum. The reproduction was presented in 1931 by the widow of Bryan Cooper, a former TD.
  • The Ceann Comhairle is an ex officio member of the Presidential Commission, Council of State, Commission for Public Service Appointments.


    The position of Ceann Comhairle is as old as the Dáil, which was first established 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.

    The use of secret ballot commenced in 2016.

    Ceann Comhairle

    This list includes the constituencies and political affiliation of each Ceann Comhairle as well as the number of their Dáil Éireann and time they spent in the position.

    Leas-Cheann Comhairle

    The Leas-Cheann Comhairle holds office as the Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann under Article 15.9.1 of the Constitution. In the absence of the Ceann Comhairle, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle deputises and performs the duties and exercises the authority of the Ceann Comhairle in Dáil proceedings. The current Leas-Cheann Comhairle is Fianna Fáil TD Pat "the Cope" Gallagher, since 6 July 2016. By tradition, the position is reserved for the Opposition, but the appointment is made by the Taoiseach of the day. The role carries the same pay and the same status as that of a Minister of State.


    Ceann Comhairle Wikipedia

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