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Role of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle

The Leas-Cheann Conhairle holds office as the Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann under Article 15.9.1 of the Constitution.  The expression “Leas-Cheann Comhairle” is defined by Standing Order 5 as the member elected by Dáil Éireann to be Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann.  In the absence of the Ceann Comhairle the Leas-Cheann Comhairle deputises and performs the duties and exercises the authority of the Cheann Comhairle in Dáil proceedings as follows:

  • Ensuring that the Standing Orders are complied with; ruling on their interpretation where a dispute arises; ensuring that they are upheld and, if not, dealing with disorderly members;
  • Presiding over debates and ensuring that members’ speeches are relevant to the matter under discussion;
  • Ensuring that business is conducted in an orderly and impartial manner; and
  • Dealing with discipline.

In this role it is the privilege and duty of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to protect, on behalf of the House, the right of its individual Members and to ensure that the business of Parliament is progressed in an orderly and dignified way befitting the House in its role, both as a constituent part of the legislature and as the directly elected Assembly to which the government in constitutionally accountable.  When in the chair, as the impartial presiding member, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle cannot take one side over the other.

Official positions held by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle in the absence of the Cheann Comhairle:
In the official absence of the Ceann Comhairle, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle deputises and acts as follows:

  • Under the Constitution as an ex-officio member of the Presidential Commission which acts in the absence of the President;
  • Under Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann as:
An ex-officio Chairman of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges;As Chairman of the Executive of the Inter-Parliamentary Union which maintains and nutures contacts between Parliaments all over the world.
  • Under statute as an ex-officio Chairman/Member of Statutory Bodies:
As a member of the appeal board in relation to the registration of political parties (Electoral Act, 1997) and a member of the appeal board to hear appeals in relation to registration of nominating bodies for the Seanad election – Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947;
  • In the EU as an ex-officio Member of the Presidents (Speakers) of Parliament of the E.U.