- Department of State (Ireland)
This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the Republic of Ireland
A Department of State (Irish: Roinn Stáit) of Ireland, is a department or ministry of the Government of Ireland. The head of such a department is a Minister of the Government (Irish: Aire Rialtais), often called a 'cabinet minister' or 'government minister' which should not be confused with Minister of State which is a junior non-cabinet minister who is attached to a Department of State and assists a Minister of the Government.
The law regarding the Departments of State and Ministers of the Government is detailed in the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 and amendments. The Constitution of Ireland also has significant legal effect on functions and structures.
There are fifteen individual Departments of State in the Irish Government. Each Department is led by a Minister of the Government, who is appointed by the President on the nomination of the Taoiseach and approval of Dáil Éireann, and cover matters that require direct political oversight. For all Departments, the Minister in question is simply known as Minister for... and is a member of the Cabinet, a cabinet level minister without a department is called a Minister without portfolio but currently there is none of such standing. A Minister of the Government is generally supported by a team of junior ministers, officially called Ministers of State, and may delegate powers to such officials in accordance with law.
The Minister of the Government has the power to suggest and propose new or amended legislation to the Government relating to matters that arise in his or her own department. Ministers are also entitled to make "Statutory Instruments", also known as delegated or secondary legislation. Statutory Instruments allow the minister to give effect to or implement legislation without the need to have every detail passed by the Oireachtas. Statutory Instruments do not have to be approved by the Oireachtas, although they may be cancelled by either the Dáil or the Seanad.
Each Department of State has a permanent staff that remains in office regardless of changes in Government or the Oireachtas. The Departments' staff are described as the civil service. The administrative management of the Department is led by a senior civil servant known as a Secretary-General. These officials advise and assist the minister in the running of the department.
List of Departments of State
Current Departments of State, listed under their present title.
Department of State Creation Current Minister Agriculture, Food and the Marine 1919 Simon Coveney Defence 1919 Alan Shatter Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation 1919 Richard Bruton Environment, Community and Local Government 1919 Phil Hogan Finance 1919 Michael Noonan Foreign Affairs and Trade 1919 Eamon Gilmore Justice and Equality 1919 Alan Shatter Communications, Energy and Natural Resources 1921 Pat Rabbitte Education and Skills 1921 Ruairi Quinn Taoiseach 1937 Enda Kenny Health 1947 James Reilly Social Protection 1947 Joan Burton Children and Youth Affairs 1956 Frances Fitzgerald Transport, Tourism and Sport 1959 Leo Varadkar Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht 1977 Jimmy Deenihan Public Expenditure and Reform 2011 Brendan Howlin
Past Departments of State, listed under their final title.
Department of State Operation Subsumed by Department of Posts and Telegraphs 1922–1984 Department of Communications Department of the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures 1939–1945 Department of Defence Department of Supplies 1939–1945 Department of Industry and Commerce Department of Labour 1966–1993 Department of Enterprise and Employment Department of the Public Service 1973–1987 Department of Tourism and Transport Department of Communications 1984–1991 Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications Department of Equality and Law Reform 1993–1997 Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
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