Hi Guys, here is my long form blog with Irish State Map analysis, hope you enjoy!
When I finished Secondary School I thought that my adventure with geography is over but as you can see I was wrong. 15 th of December, what a beautiful date, but not for me and people from my course. We got a it, a massive brief called Mapping the State . I was very confused at first because Ireland is not my motherland and all institutions, organisations and the structure of the Irish Government are not familiar to me, but when I started figured out what’s going on with that map I really enjoyed it. There you go, my understanding and analysis of a Map of the Irish State.
Formal Framework of Irish Government
In my opinion it’s all about people because they are voting and choosing candidates for the Government. They vote for the politicians for Europian Parliament, Local Government and for the head of the State – President. Then The Dáil and Local Government elect the Seanad Éireann. Those 5 parts of the Irish Government are directly elected. President, who was elected previously, appoints The President of The Courts (each section of the courts), Ministers and Taoiseach, which are the part of the Government. Then Taoiseach nominates Ministers, Ministeras of the State and the Government, which Taoiseach is a part of it. Are you keeping up with my analysis? I know I did that a little bit confusingly but there is no other way to put that into words. Public Service is an institution which tells members of the Irish Government, that I mentioned before, what exactly they have to do.
Seanad Éireann and The Dáil
The main function of Seanad Éireann is in relation to legislation but it also has other functions which it shares with the Dáil, such as the removal from office of the President or a judge of the Supreme Court, declaring a state of emergency and annulling statutory instruments.
Dáil Éireann is one of three components of the Oireachtas, the other two are the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann. In practice the powers the constitution grants to the Dáil render it by far the dominant branch, meaning that most bills passed by Dáil Éireann will ultimately become law.
It was really misleading to me when it comes about Ministers and Ministers of the State. I thought that Minister of the State in on higher possition than Minister but it’s opposite, can you believe that? Ministers of the State are less powerfuf than Ministers and that’s the reason why they are called Junior Ministers. Minister of the State sounds serious and when you hear this, you think it’s someone who manage the whole State but when you go on your Politics class you realise that you were wrong for your whole life. Probably it’s not only me, I would say most people understand that phrase in a wrong way. In Ireland we have 15 Ministers and 15 Ministers of the State.
Public Service vs Civil Service
The Civil Service is the collective term for the permanent staff of the departments of state and certain state agencies who advise and work for the Irish Government. It consists of two components, the Civil Service of the Government and the Civil Service of the State.
The Public Service consists of agencies which, while not formally part of a Department of State, provide services on behalf of the Government. Their functions range from regulating sectors of the economy, to defending and policing the nation and running the health service.
When you look at this, at first you can say that citizens of the Irish State have power and they elect candidates for the Government etc. but when you go deeper into that it’s not that simple as you thought before. There are lots of connections between each section of the Irish Government.
A Map of the Irish State consist of two colours: white and blue, lots of different shades of blue. White means the most important departments of the Republic of Ireland and they are locates in the middle of the map and they are the most visible as well. There are the biggest 5 ones:
- The Judiciary
- Department of Social Protection
- Department of Environment, Community & Local Government
- Department of Health
- Department of Education & Skills
They are the main part of the map because people that live in Ireland need them the most. Everybody cares about health and education and those two departments are trying their best that people be more educated and they could improve their skills. When something wrong happened citizens want to be sure that their case will be judged properly and fairly. The Judiciary can provide that to them.
Blue colour means things that are not that important as all of the departments but they are worth looking. When you look at the shades of blue, you can compare them to the depth of water. The more darker blue is the less connected with Government.
The Judiciary is a separate department from the Irish Government. This is the most important ond the most powerful institution of the Irish State. The Judiciary consist of:
- District Court – which has responsibility for hearing minor criminal matters, small civil claims, liquor licensing, and certain family law applications. It is also responsible for indicting the accused and sending them forward for trial at the Circuit Court and Central Criminal Court.
- Circuit Court – is an intermediate level court of local and limited jurisdiction in the which hears both civil and criminal matters.
- Central Criminal Court – is the principal courts building for the criminal courts in the Republic of Ireland.
- High Court – The High Court consists of the President and 36 ordinary judges. The Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal, and the President of the Circuit Court are, by virtue of their office, additional judges of the High Court. The High Court has full jurisdiction in and power to determine all matters and questions whether of law or fact, civil or criminal.
- Supreme Court – is the highest judicial authority in Ireland. It is a court of final appeal and exercises, in conjunction with the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
- Special Criminal Court – is a special court and it’s separate from the others.Special Criminal Courts relate to criminal trials only. They are established where the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order. The present Special Criminal Court was established in 1972 and comprises three judges of the ordinary courts – usually one High Court judge, one Circuit Court Judge and District Court Judge. There is no jury in the Special Criminal Court.
Quango is a non-governmental organisation.
Dublin Bus is a bus operator providing services in Dublin. It was estblished in 1987. Dublin Bus employs 3400 people from 68 different countries( 2500 drivers included). It has 950 buses with 110 routes.
An Post is a mojor commercial organisation providing a wide range of services which encompass postal, communications, retail and financial services. It’s one of the Ireland’s companies directly employing over 10,000 people.
Abby Theatre, also known as the National Theatre of Ireland in Dublin. First opened to the public in 1904. The Abby produces an annual programme of diverse, engaging, innovative Irish and international theatre and invests in and promotes new Irish writers and artists.
Local government not only represents the people in the local communities but also perform a number of important functions. Local government has therefore both a representational and an operational role, with responsibility for a range of services. The current system of Local Government in the Republic of Ireland comprises of 31 Local Authorities with 949 members. The Council has 63 elected members and is the largest local council in Ireland. Local elections are held in Ireland every 5 years in the month of May or June. If you wish to be nominated, there’s a special week in which you must be nominated. It’s exactly 4 weeks before polling day. You have to be at least 18 years old and, what is very interesting, you don’t have to be a citizen of Ireland. To apply you have to fill the form from your local authoruty returning officer or if you are a member of the party the only thing you need to do is to submit a Certificate of Party Affiliation with your nomination. Along with the central institutions of the Oireachtas, the political system in Ireland also extands to local level government of the local authorities, consist of:
- 29 County Councils
- 5 City Councils
- 5 Borough Councils
- 75 Town Councils
Managament of the local authoruty is coordinated by the County or City Manager.
The Oireachtas is the modern legislature of Republic of Ireland. It consists of President of Ireland, Seanad and The Dail.
The Oireachtas has exclusive power to:
- Legislate, including a power vested in the Dáil of approving the financial resolutions relevant to the budget. However, the courts have allowed the Oireachtas to delegate limited legislative powers to other entities, such as Government Ministers.
- Create subordinate legislatures.
- Propose changes to the constitution (must be initiated in the Dáil), which must then be submitted to a referendum.
- Raise military or armed forces.
- Allow international agreements to become part of the domestic law of the state.
- Pass certain laws having extraterritorial effect (in accordance with the similar practices of other states).
- Enact, when it considers a state of emergency to exist, almost any law it deems necessary, with imposition of capital punishment being the only absolutely excluded act in all circumstances.
Proximity of Departments of Taoiseach
Republic of Ireland has 16 Departments. Department of Taoiseach is the government department o fIreland. It is based in Government Buildings, the headquarters of the Government of Ireland. It’s not that big on the map but it’s really important for the State because this is the head of different departments. Department of Defence, Justice & Equality, Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform and Foregin Affairs & Trade there are 5 departmants that are the closest to the Taoiseach. I think they were put that close on the map becacuse those departments are connected with Government and people that working there know a lot more about then than oridinary people. Those 5 departments are not that big as another even though they are powerful. People are refer to them only in special cases.
A little further are Department of Children & Youth Affairs, Environment & Local Government, Social Protection, Health and Education & Skills. They cover a big area on the map and I think that Irish citizens are very familiar with them because everybody cares about health or school education. In my opinion that 5 is a big part of the Irish Government, which you can see on the map, and they are the most focused on people to make their lifes easier.
And the last 5. They are the smallest ones and they were put so far away from Taoiseach. Agriculture,Food & Marine, Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Transport, Tourism & Sport, Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht and Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. They are not that powerful and important as the ones that are very close to the Taoiseach, they are not that focused on people’s needs as well. Most of them were made to keep people entertained.
Interview with local councillor
Paul McAuliffe is the Leader of the Fianna Fáil group on the City Council in North West Area and we met with him at one of our politics class. He told us how councillor job looks like and what he and his party are trying to improve in their local community. He gave us an example, which shows that this job is not that easy as many people thing, just sitting behind the desk. NO! Here is an example: 15 people wrote a petition as they wanted to close the road because of the loud parties and screaming people during the night. It was only 15 people and the rest of the community didn’t want that because of the bus stops etc. He decided not to close the road but as he said: ‘’ I still have a responsibility for those 15 people who were affected’’. When I heard that my first thought was: ‘Is that possible?’ I was shocked because not many politicians cares about people. Well done Mr. McAuliffe!
‘’Local Government is responsible for lots of things like water, libraries and housing’’. The North part of Dublin has new facilities like, new housing, new employing place – IKEA and lots of youth facilities, which is very good that Local Government cares about people and giving them jobs and places where can relax and get some rest.
There’s only one thing, which made me sad. ‘’If you are a member of a party that’s ok but if you don’t fall with the party the subject should be expelled from it. That really removes you from all the collections and services. If you are expelled from the party, they not going to support your local issues’’. That’s really sad that you can do anything on your own and you have to be in a party, because sometimes you don’t agree with things the party you are in is doing but you have to do the things you are told to do, to be not expelled.