The Constitution allows each House to make its own rules, and these are known as Standing Orders. The Standing Orders of the Seanad are enforced by the Cathaoirleach and the Standing Orders of the Dáil are enforced by the Ceann Comhairle.
Among the many detailed rules contained in Standing Orders are the days and times on which meetings may take place, the quorum necessary to constitute a meeting, the length of time for which the doors of the Chamber must be locked during a division and the procedure for dealing with disorderly conduct by a Member.
The Dáil’s Standing Orders were first adopted by Resolution of the Provisional Parliament of 11 September 1922. Since then, Standing Orders have been amended and modified by the Dáil. A consolidated version of all Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann currently in effect is provided, incorporating the Standing Orders of the most recent edition and any modifications made by the current Dáil, whether sessional or permanent. This consolidation has been produced for ease of reference, and is not an official edition of Standing Orders.
Seanad Éireann also determines and modifies Standing Orders relative to its public business. A consolidated version of all Standing Orders of Seanad Éireann currently in effect is provided, incorporating the Standing Orders of the most recent edition and any modifications made by the current Seanad, whether sessional or permanent. This consolidation has been produced for ease of reference, and is not an official edition of Standing Orders.
The Constitution of Ireland also sets down certain rights and privileges for Members of the Oireachtas. TDs and Senators may not, for example, be arrested when going to, returning from or being within the precincts of either the Dáil or Seanad. This privilege does not apply to arrest for treason, felony or breach of the peace.
TDs and Senators may not be sued for defamation because of any speech in the House. This privilege protects Members both in the Houses and at Committee hearings. If a Member of either House acts in a way that amounts to an abuse of a privilege, the Committee on Procedure (Dáil Éireann) or the Committee on Procedure and Privileges (Seanad Éireann) may recommend disciplining the Member.
Last updated: 27 October 2020