Cathaoirleach

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Cathaoirleach of
Seanad Éireann
Oireachtas logo.svg
Incumbent
Denis O'Donovan

since 8 June 2016
Appointer Elected by the members of Seanad Éireann at start of a new term after a general election.
Term length No term limits are imposed on the office.
Inaugural holder Lord Glenavy
Formation 6 December 1922
Website Official website

Cathaoirleach (/kəˈhɪərləx/;[1] Irish for "chairperson"; plural: Cathaoirligh) is the title of the chair (or presiding officer) of Seanad Éireann, the sixty-member upper house of the Oireachtas, the legislature of Ireland. The current Cathaoirleach is Senator Denis O'Donovan.

Powers and functions[edit]

The Cathaoirleach is the sole judge of order and has a range of powers and functions namely:[2]

  • Calls on members to speak and all speeches must be addressed to the Chair.
  • Puts such questions to the House as are required, supervises Divisions and declares the results.
  • Has authority to suppress disorder, to enforce prompt obedience to Rulings and may order members to withdraw from the House or name them for suspension by the House itself for a period.
  • In the case of great disorder can suspend or adjourn the House.

The Cathaoirleach is also an ex-officio member of the Presidential Commission, the collective vice-presidency of Ireland.

Leas-Chathaoirleach[edit]

The Cathaoirleach's deputy is the Leas-Chathaoirleach. The position is currently vacant following the election of the previous Leas-Cathaoirleach Denis O'Donovan as Cathaoirleach on 8 June 2016. The next Leas-Chathaoirleach will be elected on 15 June 2016.

List of office-holders[edit]

This list includes the panel (since 1938) and political affiliation of each Cathaoirleach as well as the number of their Seanad Éireann and time they spent in the position.

No. Name[3]
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Term of office Party Panel Seanad
1. Lord Glenavy
(1851–1931)
No image.png 6 December 1922 6 December 1928 Independent N/A 1922
1925
2. Thomas Westropp Bennett
(1867–1962)
No image.png 6 December 1928 19 May 1936[4] Cumann na nGaedheal N/A 1928
1931
1934
3. Seán Gibbons
(1883–1952)
No image.png 27 April 1938[4] 8 September 1943 Fianna Fáil Agricultural Panel 2nd
3rd
4. Seán Goulding
(1877–1959)
No image.png 8 September 1943 21 April 1948 Fianna Fáil Industrial and Commercial Panel
(1943–1944)
Administrative Panel
(1944–1948)
4th
5th
5. Timothy O'Donovan
(1881–1951)
No image.png 21 April 1948 14 August 1951 Fine Gael Agricultural Panel 6th
6. Liam Ó Buachalla
(1899–1970)
No image.png 14 August 1951 22 July 1954 Fianna Fáil Cultural and Educational Panel 7th
7 Patrick Baxter
(1891–1959)
No image.png 22 July 1954 22 May 1957 Clann na Talmhan Agricultural Panel 8th
(6) Liam Ó Buachalla
(1899–1970)
No image.png 22 May 1957 5 November 1969 Fianna Fáil Cultural and Educational Panel 9th
10th
11th
8. Michael Yeats
(1921–2007)
No image.png 5 November 1969 3 January 1973 Fianna Fáil Cultural and Educational Panel 12th
9. Micheál Cranitch
(1912–1999)
No image.png 3 January 1973 1 June 1973 Fianna Fáil Nominated by the Taoiseach
10. James Dooge
(1922–2010)
No image.png 1 June 1973 27 October 1977 Fine Gael Industrial and Commercial Panel 13th
11. Séamus Dolan
(1914–2010)
No image.png 27 October 1977 8 October 1981 Fianna Fáil Labour Panel 14th
12. Charles McDonald
(born 1935)
No image.png 8 October 1981 13 May 1982 Fine Gael Agricultural Panel 15th
13. Tras Honan
(born 1930)
No image.png 13 May 1982 23 February 1983 Fianna Fáil Administrative Panel 16th
14. Patrick J. Reynolds
(1920–2003)
No image.png 23 February 1983 25 April 1987 Fine Gael Industrial and Commercial Panel 17th
(13) Tras Honan
(born 1930)
No image.png 25 April 1987 1 November 1989 Fianna Fáil Administrative Panel 18th
15. Seán Doherty
(1944–2005)
No image.png 1 November 1989 23 January 1992 Fianna Fáil Administrative Panel 19th
16. Seán Fallon
(1937–1995)
No image.png 23 January 1992 12 July 1995 Fianna Fáil Industrial and Commercial Panel
20th
17. Liam Naughten
(1944–1996)
No image.png 12 July 1995 16 November 1996 Fine Gael Agricultural Panel
18. Brian Mullooly
(born 1935)
No image.png 16 November 1996 27 November 1996 Fianna Fáil Labour Panel
19. Liam T. Cosgrave
(born 1956)
No image.png 27 November 1996 17 September 1997 Fine Gael Industrial and Commercial Panel
(18) Brian Mullooly
(born 1935)
No image.png 17 September 1997 12 September 2002 Fianna Fáil Labour Panel 21st
20. Rory Kiely
(born 1934)
No image.png 12 September 2002 13 September 2007 Fianna Fáil Agricultural Panel 22nd
21. Pat Moylan
(born 1946)
No image.png 13 September 2007 25 May 2011 Fianna Fáil Agricultural Panel 23rd
22. Paddy Burke
(born 1955)
Paddy Burke 2014.jpg 25 May 2011 8 June 2016 Fine Gael Agricultural Panel 24th
23. Denis O'Donovan
(born 1955)
8 June 2016 Incumbent Fianna Fáil Agricultural Panel 25th

Other uses[edit]

The term Cathaoirleach is also used in a generic sense for chairs of various organisations and local authorities. Many voluntary organisations, associations and clubs also employ this term, for example county boards and clubs of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ For the pronunciation in Irish, see here.
  2. ^ "Role of the Cathaoirleach". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Cathaoirleach - Chairman - Seanad Éireann". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b The final sitting of Seanad Éireann of the Irish Free State was held on 19 May 1936. The Seanad was abolished on 29 May 1936. The election for the new Seanad, set up in accordance with the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, was held on 28 March 1938, and the first sitting was held on 27 April 1938.

External links[edit]