What happens if the Dáil fails to nominate a Taoiseach?

Friday, February 26, 2016

The next sitting of the Dáil will be 10th March at 10.30am. What happens if the Dáil fails to nominate a Taoiseach?

There is no deadline by which a Taoiseach must be nominated. If the Dáil fails to nominate a Taoiseach, the Dáil can be adjourned, by agreement, until another day. The motion to adjourn can be debated before being voted upon. There have been two occasions on which the Dáil has failed to nominate a Taoiseach: 1989 and 1992.

In 1989, the Dáil defeated all motions proposing individuals as Taoiseach, leading the outgoing Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, to proceed to Áras an Uachtaráin and formally resign the post. He was nominated Taoiseach at a subsequent Dáil sitting on another day.

In 1992, Albert Reynolds (outgoing Taoiseach), John Bruton and Dick Spring were all proposed in turn as Taoiseach, but none of them was nominated. The 27th Dáil transacted substantial other business in the "inter regnum" period (from 14 Dec 1992 to 12 Jan 1993). On the 15th December, Albert Reynolds announced that he had resigned as Taoiseach and that the President had accepted his resignation. The House then went on (on the 15th and 16th December) to deal with various business.

Proposals for Taoiseach resumed on the 22nd December without success and the Dáil adjourned until 5th January, when they were again unsuccessful.

The Taoiseach was finally nominated and appointed on 12th January 1993.

Once the Taoiseach has been nominated, he / she will proceed to Áras an Uachtaráin to be formally appointed by the President. At this stage the House will suspend the sitting until later that day.

When the House re-convenes, the Taoiseach and his / her party will take the seats on the Government side of the House. The next business is the approval of the nominations by the

Taoiseach of other members of the Government. A certain amount of time may be allocated for a debate and following this a vote will be taken. It would be unusual to have any other business on the first sitting day. The House will then adjourn until the next sitting day.

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