Council of State

An Chomhairle Stáit Anseo

Council of State

What is it?

The Constitution provides for a Council of State to aid and counsel the President on all matters on which the President may consult them. The circumstances when the President must consult the Council of State are specified in the Constitution.

Who is on it?

The Council of State comprises three categories of members i.e.

1. Ex Officio

Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), Chief Justice, President of the High Court, Ceann Comhairle (Chair of the lower house of parliament), Cathaoirleach of the Seanad (Chair of the upper house of parliament), Attorney General.

2. Former Office Holders

Every person, able and willing to act, who has previously held office as President, Taoiseach or Chief Justice.

3. Appointed Members

Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness
Mr. Michael Farrell
Professor Deirdre Heenan
Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh
Mr. Ruairí McKiernan
Ms. Sally Mulready
Professor Gerard Quinn


Presidential Commission

What is it?

In the event of absence, incapacity, death, resignation, removal from office or failure to perform functions by the President, the Constitution provides for a Commission to exercise and perform the powers and functions of the President.

Who is on it?

The Chief Justice, the Ceann Comhairle (Chair) of Dáil Éireann (house of representatives) and the Cathaoirleach (Chair) of Seanad Éireann (Senate).

If any of those is unable to act, the President of the High Court, the Leas (Deputy) Ceann Comhairle and the Leas (Deputy) Cathaoirleach, respectively, can act as members in their place.


The Commission may act by any two of their number. In any contingency not foreseen by the constitutional arrangements, the Council of State may make any arrangements they consider appropriate to meet the situation. The Commission has frequently signed Bills into law and has appointed members of the Government after approval by Dáil Éireann (House of representatives) on the nomination of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister). In 1992, during the absence of the President abroad, the Commission dissolved Dáil Éireann on the advice of the Taoiseach.