Tánaiste of Ireland Appointer President of Ireland on the nomination of the Taoiseach Inaugural holder Seán T. O'Kelly Formation 29 December 1937 Salary €184,405
Origins and etymology
Tánaiste was originally the Irish word for the heir of the chief (taoiseach) or king (rí), under the Gaelic system of tanistry. Before independence, the British Viceroy was sometimes referred to in the Irish language as An Tánaiste-Rí, literally 'the deputy king'.
The Taoiseach (prime minister) nominates a member of the government to the position of Tánaiste and is appointed by the President. The Tánaiste acts in the place of the Taoiseach during his or her temporary absence, and, until a successor has been appointed, in the event of the Taoiseach's death or permanent incapacitation. The Tánaiste must be a member of Dáil Éireann, and is ex-officio a member of the Council of State. The Tánaiste would usually chair meetings of the government if the Taoiseach is absent or take questions on his behalf in the Dáil or Seanad.
Aside from these duties, the title is largely honorific in practice. The constitution does not give the Tánaiste specific powers other than deputising for the Taoiseach. Under a coalition government the position is commonly held by the leader of the second-largest party who in this situation is free to head any department he or she wants. Recent office-holders, such as Michael McDowell, Mary Harney and Dick Spring, have been leaders of smaller parties. The current Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, is the leader of second largest party in the Dáil as part of a coalition government.
List of office-holders
- ^ a b Before the enactment of the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, the deputy head of government was referred to as the Vice-President of the Executive Council.
- ^ "Cabinet decides to cut pay for Ministers". RTÉ News. 10 March 2011. http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0310/politics.html. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
- ^ Plural: Tánaistí (Irish pronunciation: [ˈt̪ˠaːnəʃtʲiː]). In English, the singular form "An Tánaiste" ([ən̪ ˈt̪ˠaːnəʃtʲə]) (using the Irish-language definite article "an" for "the") may also be used instead of The Tánaiste.
- ^ Article 28.6.2° and 28.6.3° of the Constitution of Ireland. 
- ^ Article 28.7.1° of the Constitution of Ireland.
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