Day 2 – Oireachtas & Judiciary

In this entry I am discussing the Oireachtas and Judiciary sections of ''Mapping The State''Houses of the Oireachtas Commission suppliment

In my previous post I was discussing the Formal Framework section of ”Mapping The State”. This post can be found here.



The Oireachtas is responsible for legislature, proposing and passing laws. It is made up of Dail Eireann and Seanad Eireann.

Dail Eireann is the known as the lower house of the Oireachtas.  It has 166 seats in total, with Fine Gael taking the majority (68). It is of higher authority than Seanad Eireann, in that it may pass any law.

Seanad Eireann is the upper house of the Oireachtas.  It has less swing in the decisions that are made than of it’s sister house, in that they cannot pass any law they want, among other privileges granted to Dail Eireann.  However, it still has a say in laws that are proposed in Dail Eireann, their approval is required. There are 61 seats in Seanad Eireann, with Fine Gael again having the most at 18.



The judiciary consists of a series of courts –  the District Court, High Court, Central Criminal Court, Special Criminal Court, Court Of Criminal Appeal, and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court holds the most power, the highest court in Ireland. A hierarchy type system is in place:

Judiciary proceedings start off at the District Court, then Circuit Court.

From there, it’s the High Court if it’s a civil case, then finally onto the Supreme Court.

If it’s a criminal case, it goes to the Central or Special Criminal Court, onto The Court Of Criminal Appeal, and ends in the Supreme Court.

The system is all based on appeals and the nature of the offences committed. The High Court hosts some of the more severe cases of criminal offence, and  hears appeals from lower courts.

The Supreme Court, as the most powerful, has the final say on cases passed through the various courts. The Irish constitution is used as a point of reference in the courts.






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