On Thursday 10th March the first business of the new Dáil will be to elect, from its members, the new Ceann Comhairle. This new Ceann Comharile will sit for the duration of the new Dáil and will automatically be elected to the next Dáil. But what exactly is a Ceann Comhairle?
The Ceann Comhairle is the speaker or chairperson of the Dáil. It is their job to preside impartially over the business and proceedings of the House. The Ceann Comhairle acts as the sole judge of order and has the power to order TDs to withdraw from the Dáil or suspend them for a period if they cause disorder. In the case of great disorder they can suspend or adjourn the Dáil altogether.
Seán Barrett TD is the outgoing Ceann Comhairle and will not be seek nomination for reappointment.
To become Ceann Comhairle TDs must first declare their interest; they then must be nominated by at least 7 other TDs. This takes place prior to the first sitting of the Dáil providing the candidates with the opportunity to canvass their fellow TDs for support. The vote will then be held by secret ballot and the person selected will then be formally elected through an open vote in the chamber. This is the first time the Ceann Comhairle has been elected in such a way. Previously it was the role of the Taoiseach to point the Dáil chair.
In the running this year is:
Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD
Seán Ó Fearghaíl is a Fianna Fáil TD for the constituency of Kildare South. He is one of the favourites to be elected along with Maureen O’Sullivan TD.
Maureen O’Sullivan TD
Maureen O’Sullivan is an independent TD for the constituency of Dublin Central. If elected she will become the first female Ceann Comhairle in the States history. She is one of the favourites to be elected along with Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD.
Bernard Durkan TD
Bernard Durkan is a Fine Gael TD for the constituency of Kildare North.
Andrew Doyle TD
Andrew Doyle is a Fine Gael TD for the constituency of Wicklow.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin is a Sinn Féin TD for the constituency of Cavan/Monaghan.
Following the election of the Ceann Comhairle the next order of business for the new Dáil will be to elect a new Taoiseach, following the results of the general election it remains unclear who, if anyone, will be elected on March 10th.