For the Private Members Bills, the process may differ a little bit from the normal government Bill. Instead of being introduced by the Minister or the President or the Attorney General in certain circumstances, a member of the opposition presents the Bill. On reaching the second stage, the Bill is discussed for a maximum of six hours before being sent to a select committee. Note that in the normal government Bill the committee comprises of a representative of the whole house. This is where the difference in procedure comes in.
However, the rest of the processes are carried on as usual before the Bill can eventually be declared a law of the land. Constitutional Bills The difference in procedure for this kind of Bill is that it requires consent from the public (Byrne and McCutcheon, 2009). As a result, once the Bill is completed, people are allowed to vote for or against the bill in a referendum. The majority votes determine whether the bill will be signed by the President or not. If a Bill is defeated during a referendum, the President may not sign it.
On the contrary, if it is voted for by the majority the President signs and promulgates it so that it becomes law. Private Legislation The procedure for private legislation is a bit different from the normal legislative process. This is because private Bills are normally meant to cater for the needs of a particular private group or individual and which the constitution does not provide for. The promoter of the bill will introduce the Private Bill to the Senate under the supervision of the chairman of Dail Eireann and the speaker of the Seanad Eireann (Byrne and McCutcheon, 2009).
The Private Bill's subject matter is published as a note in the paper and a copy of the same sent to the Oireachtas. People are then given a chance to contest the Bill depending on whether it affects their rights. An agreement by everyone in the House qualifies the Bill for the second stage. Nothing much is involved in the second stage and the Bill is passed to the third stage to a joint committee. What is notable is that the members of the committee should not have any personal interests in the contents of the Bill (Byrne and McCutcheon, 2009).
The promoter is required to justify why the Bill is necessary and witnesses may be involved. The fourth stage is to report to both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is actually the one involved in the fourth and fifth stage process. The Bill is then passed to the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives does not go through the first three stages but rather goes direct to the fourth and fifth stage until the Bill is made into law.
This process is usually expensive and time consuming and the promoters pay for the cost of making the Bill. Superiority of Dail Eireann The provisions of the Irish Constitution tend to weaken the function of the Seanad Eireann and give superiority to the Dail Eireann. Article 23 states that the House of Representatives is more supreme than the Senate and may overrule it in the legislation process (Byrne and McCutcheon, 2009). This means that the House of Representatives can still pass a law that has been rejected as if it has been agreed upon by both houses.
Further, a bill passed by the Senate according to Article 23 must be examined for the second time by the Senate if it was amended by the House of Representatives. The proposition is that since the Bill was amended by the House of Representatives, it is the one that initiated it. It is worth noting that there are those Bills that can only be proposed by the House of Representatives such as Money Bills and constitution amendment Bills. Money Bills according to Article 22. 1. 1 encompass tax Bills, debt payment, appropriation and audit among other money matters.
The constitution gives the Senate only 21 days to recommend the Bill. Even though the Seanad Eireann is made inferior by the provisions of the Constitution, the Senate has to work under the terms given under Article 23 to prevent any chances of evoking the article (Byrne and McCutcheon, 2009). Conclusion The Parliament or the Oireachtas possesses the power to make laws in the Irish Constitution. The laws must however be to the best interests of the nation and not go contrary to the provisions made by the constitution.
The Oireachtas, consisting of the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives must take all Bills or proposed laws through all the five stages before it becomes law. Special Bills such as constitutional Bills and Private Bills may have a slightly different procedure which they have to pass through. In the making of legislation, the Irish Constitution gives superiority to the House of Representatives such that the House can pass legislation without necessarily having to be approved by the Senate.
The House of Representatives also has special powers in that it is the only one that can pass Bills such as Money Bills or Constitutional Bills. Even then, the two Houses must work in harmony for better functioning of the Oireachtas hence the reason why the Senate must adhere to Article 23 of the Constitution.
Briain, L. T. (1991). The Irish Constitution. Bowen Hills: Talbot press Byrne, R. J. & McCutcheon, P. (2009). The Irish Legal System, 5th ed. UK: Tottel Publishing.