31st Dáil

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The Dáil, or Dáil Éireann (pronouned [d̪ˠaːlʲ ˈeːrʲən̪ˠ]), is the lower house of the Irish bicameral parliament. The upper house, the Senate, or Seanad Éireann (ɕan̪ˠad̪ˠ e:rʲan̪ˠ) and the Dáil together form the parliament, known as the Oireachtas (ɛrʲaxt̪ˠasˠ). The "31st Dáil" is so called because it will be the 31st to sit since the foundation of the state.

Dáil Éireann (usually just called "the Dáil") has 166 members or Teachtaí Dálaí ("Teachta Dála", pronounced ˈtʲaxtə ˈdɑːlə, is the singular form, abbreviated to "TD"), each elected to represent one of 43 multi-seat constituencies under the system of proportional representation by means of the Single Transferable Vote.

Under the constitution, parliamentary elections must be held at least every seven years, though a lower limit may be set by statute law. The current statutory maximum term is every five years.

The government in the 30th Dáil consisted of a coalition of two parties: Fianna Fáil under Taoiseach Brian Cowen; and the Green Party. The main opposition parties in the 30th Dáil consisted of Fine Gael and Labour. The general election for the 165 seats available (the speaker, or Ceann Comhairle, is returned automatically) took place on Friday, 25th February, 2011, with the count of ballots beginning the following day.

Pre-election alliances

There were no pre-election pacts declared between the main parties. The Socialist Party, members of the People Before Profit alliance and some independent candidates announced the formation of the United Left Alliance in the weeks before the election.

Results

The general election saw a massive swing against the sitting government parties - Fianna Fáil fell to it's smallest representation ever.

Individually significant results included:

The Green Party lost all of their seats. Several sitting ministers also failed to win re-election, and Fianna Fáil managed to return only one TD in the whole of Dublin (outgoing Finance Minister Brian Lenihan).

Constituencies

Constituency

Number of seats (2011)

Result 2011 (change from 2007 in brackets)

FF

FG

Lab.

PD

SF

Grn

Soc.

Other

Carlow-Kilkenny

5

1 (-2)

3 (+2)

1 (+1)

0 (-1)

Cavan-Monaghan

5[1]

1 (-2)

3 (+2)

1 (0)

Clare

4

1 (-1)

2

1 (+1)

Cork East

4

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1

1 (+1)

Cork North Central

4

1 (-1)

1

1

1 (+1)

Cork North West

3

1 (-1)

2 (+1)

Cork South Central

5

2

2

1

Cork South West

3

0 (-1)

2

1 (+1)

Donegal North East

3

1 (-1)

1

1 (+1)

Donegal South West

3

0 (-2)

1

1 (+1)[2]

1 (+1)

Dublin Central

4

0 (-2)

1 (+1)

1

1 (+1)

1

Dublin Mid West

4

0 (-1)

2 (+2)

2 (+1)

0[3]

0 (-1)

[3]

Dublin North

4

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

0 (-1)

1 (+1)

Dublin North Central

3

0 (-1)

1

1 (+1)

1

Dublin North East

3

0 (-1)

1

2 (+1)

Dublin North West

3

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

Dublin South

5

0 (-2)

3 (+1)

1 (+1)

0 (-1)

Dublin South Central

5

0 (-2)

1

2 (+1)

1

1 (+1)

Dublin South East

4

0 (-1)

2 (+1)

2 (+1)

0 (-1)

Dublin South West

4

0 (-2)

1

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

Dublin West

4 (+1)

1

1

1

1 (+1)

Dún Laoghaire

4 (-1)

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1

0 (-1)

1 (+1)

Galway East

4

1 (-1)

2

1 (+1)

Galway West

5

1 (-1)

2 (+1)

1

0[4]

1[4]

Kerry North-Limerick West[5]

3

0 (-1)

1

1 (+1)

1

Kerry South

3

0 (-2)

1 (+1)

2 (+1)

Kildare North

4

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1

1 (+1)

Kildare South

3

1 (-1)

1 (+1)

1

Laois-Offaly

5

2 (-1)

2

1 (+1)

Limerick City[6]

4 (-1)

1 (-1)

2

1

Limerick[7]

3

1 (-1)

2 (+1)

Longford-Westmeath

4

1 (-1)

2 (+1)

1

Louth

5 (+1)[8]

1 (-1)

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

1

Mayo

5

1

4 (+1)

[9]

Meath East

3

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

Meath West

3

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

Roscommon-South Leitrim

3

0 (-1)

2

1 (+1)

Sligo-North Leitrim

3

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1 (+1)

Tipperary North

3

0 (-1)

1

1 (+1)

1

Tipperary South

3

0 (-2)

1

2 (+2)[10]

Waterford

4

0 (-2)

2 (+1)

1

1 (+1)

Wexford

5

1 (-1)

2

1

1 (+1)

Wicklow

5

0 (-2)

3 (+1)

1

1 (+1)

Totals

166

20 (-58)

75 (+24)

37 (+17)

0

14 (+10)

0 (-6)

2 (+2)

15 (+10)


Key:
FF: Fianna Fáil
FG: Fine Gael
Lab.: Labour
PD: Progressive Democrats
SF: Sinn Féin
Grn.: Green Party
Soc.: Socialist Party
Other: Independents and/or members of small parties not listed above.

Composition of the Dáil

Party May 2007
(elected to 30th Dáil)
At dissolution of 30th Dáil Elected to 31st Dáil Current
Fianna Fáil 78 72 20 19[11]
Fine Gael 51 51 75 75
Labour Party 20 20 37 38[11]
Progressive Democrats 2 0[12] n/a n/a
Green Party 6 6 0 0
Sinn Féin 4 5 14 14
Socialist 0 0 2[13] 2
Independents 5 5 15 15

Formation of government

Negotiations on the formation of the government began immediately after the election results became known. Theoretically, it was possible for Fine Gael to form a minority government with the support of a number of independent TDs. However, Fine Gael and the Labour Party entered talks on forming a coalition. A programme for government was negotiated between representatives of both parties. The programme was agreed to by both a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and a special delegate conference of the Labour Party, both held on Sunday, 6th March, 2011.

The 31st Dáil sat for the first time on 9th March, 2011. Enda Kenny, leader of Fine Gael, was elected as Taoiseach, and formed a Fine Gael/Labour coalition government.

Cabinet

After travelling to Áras an Uactaráin to receive his Seal of Office from the President, Kenny returned to the Dáil to announce his cabinet. The appointments are as follows:

Office Name Term Party
Taoiseach Enda Kenny 2011–present Fine Gael
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore 2011–present Labour
Chief Whip Paul Kehoe 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Jimmy Deenihan 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte 2011–present Labour
Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn 2011–present Labour
Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan 2011–present Fine Gael
Junior Minister in the Department of the Environment[14] Willie Penrose 2011–present Labour
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Health James Reilly 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter 2011–present Fine Gael
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin 2011–present Labour
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton 2011–present Labour
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar 2011–present Fine Gael

See also

References

  1. Includes the seat of the then Ceann Comhairle, Rory O Hanlon, who by virtue of his office was returned automatically to the Dáil without having to seek re-election.
  2. Pearse Doherty had first won his seat for SF in the by-election of November 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mary Harney was elected in 2007 on a Progressive Democrat ticket. They disbanded in 2009 and Harney sat in Cabinet as an independent.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Noel Grealish was elected in 2007 on a Progressive Democrat ticket. The party disbanded in 2009 and Grealish remained in the Dáil as an independent.
  5. There was a substantial boundary change from the 2007 election. The comparison is with the 2007 Kerry North constituency.
  6. Substantial boundary changes from the 2007 general election. The comparison figures refer to the 2007 Limerick East constituency.
  7. Substantial boundary changes from the 2007 general election. The comparison figures refer to the 2007 Limerick West constituency.
  8. Includes the seat of Séamus Kirk (FF), the outgoing Ceann Comhairle, who is returned automatically.
  9. Beverley Flynn had rejoined Fianna Fáil.
  10. Mattie McGrath had been elected on a Fianna Fáil ticket in 2007. He resigned from the party in 2010 and was elected as an independent.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Following the death of incumbent TD and former Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan Jnr. (Fianna Fáil), a by-election in the Dublin West constituency saw the seat going to the Labour Party nominee.
  12. The PDs disbanded. Mary Harney remained in the cabinet as Minister for Health, until her resignation in January 2011; Noel Grealish remained an independent TD and normally supported the government.
  13. The Socialist Party returned two TDs, Joe Higgins and Clare Daly. However, they ran under the banner of the United Left Alliance, who in total succeeded in having five TDs elected. The remaining three TDs are included in the total for independents.
  14. This appointment includes the right to sit at Cabinet, but without a vote.