Parliament, subject to the obligations of EU membership, as provided in the
Constitution of Ireland the sole and exclusive power of making laws is vested
in the Oireachtas.
Government policy and administration may be examined and
criticised in both Houses, but under the Constitution the Government is
responsible to the D�il alone.
In the passage of legislation the primacy of the
D�il is clearly shown in relation to Money Bills, on which the Seanad is
empowered only to make recommendations (not amendments) and these must be made
within twenty-one days.
At present D�il �ireann has 166 members
called Teachta' D�la (TDs). Members are returned by the forty-one
constituencies into which the country is divided. Under present arrangements,
twelve constituencies return three members each, fifteen constituencies return
four members each, and fourteen constituencies return five members each. No
constituency may return less than three members. Under the Constitution the
number of members shall from time to time be fixed by law, but the total number
of members of D�il �ireann shall not be fixed at less than one member for each
thirty thousand of the population, or at more than one member for each twenty
thousand of the population. The ratio of elected members to population shall,
as far as is practicable, be the same for each constituency throughout the
country. The Houses of the Oireachtas must revise the constituencies at least
once every twelve years.
Seanad �ireann has sixty members. Eleven members are nominated directly by
the Taoiseach. Forty-three members are elected from five panels of candidates -
The Cultural and Educational Panel, The Agricultural Panel, The Labour Panel,
The Industrial and Commercial Panel and The Administrative Panel. Each panel
consists of persons with knowledge and practical experience of the interests
represented by the panel. The remaining six members are elected by two
universities - three by the National University of Ireland and three by the
University of Dublin. The powers of the Seanad, as defined by the Constitution,
are in general less than those of the D�il. It has complementary powers with
the D�il in broad areas such as the removal from office of a President or a
judge; the declaration and termination of a state of emergency; the initiation
of Bills other than Money Bills; and the annulment of statutory instruments.
The Seanad has prior or exclusive powers in other areas, however.