According to Lipjhart (2), one major difference that exists between the US government and the Republic of Ireland has to do with the head of government. Ireland is regarded as a republic that has in place a parliamentary system of governance. The President of Ireland serves as the head of state. This is unlike the situation in the presidential system of government like in the US where the president serves as both the head of state and the head of government. To a great extent, the President in the Republic of Ireland is considered a figure head.
What this means is that despite being in a formal office, any President elected to the helm in the Republic of Ireland executes very little actual power. However, in certain instances, the President may carry out particular powers and functions but with the help of the council of state and an advisory body (Lipjhart, 2). In the parliamentary system of government such as in the Republic of Ireland, the head of government and his/her cabinet are both dependent on the confidence of the legislature. Accordingly, they may be dismissed from office by a legislative vote of no confidence or what is referred to as censure.
In most instances, the head of governmental the parliamentary system is the prime minister, also referred to by such other titles premiere. Conversely, in the presidential system of government like the US, the head of government, mostly the president, is elected for a fixed constitutionally prescribed term. What this then means is that unlike in the parliamentary system (Republic of Ireland) where the head of government may be censured by the legislature, the head of government in the presidential system (the US) may not be forced to resign by the legislature.
However, in very special circumstances, he/she may be impeached (Lipjhart, 2). This has important ramifications. The president in a presidential system of government is then considered to be more stable as it t is not as easy to dissolve the government and even order a new election. On the contrary, it is possible for a premier in a parliamentary system of government to be removed from power easily (Dubroff). Thus, although a cabinet does exist in the presidential system of government, it does not wield as much power as in the parliamentary system of government.
Unlike the US government that has in place a vice president, there exists a collective vice presidency in the Republic of Ireland also commonly referred to as the term presidential commission. It is made up of by the individuals who chair the upper and lower houses of parliament plus the Irish chief justice (Dubroff). In the parliamentary system that is the Republic of Ireland, the Prime Minister is dependent on the legislature when it comes to the selection of ministers.
It is to be expected that the Prime Minister will select individuals who not only have vision and integrity but also that have ability and experience. More over, it is also expected that he/she is not going to compromise the all important role of providing adequate representation to all regardless, of age sex or even race. However, under the presidential system of government like the US, the President is not in any hindered by such considerations for the simple fact that he/she is not subordinate/tied to the legislature (Parween, 2).
Another difference has to do with the mode of election as far as the head of government is concerned. According to Lipjhart (3), the head of government in a presidential system of government is popularly elected. In the Republic of Ireland, the President is elected for a seven year term (Oakley and Gallagher, 50). However, when it comes to the US, the president is elected in the for a five year term (“Congress”). In the Republic of Ireland, the President is directly elected by the people to serve a seven year term.
The situation is different in the US, where the president is indirectly elected by the electoral college made up of electors who are chosen by voters in the presidential election. Yet another difference arises from this. Unlike in the US where elections are to be held after every five years, in the Republic of Irelands, it is set in the Constitution that elections are to be held every seven years. Again, when it comes to the election of the President and the members of Congress in the Presidential system of government (US), it is important to note that they are both chosen in two separate elections.
Conversely, in a parliamentary election, the President and the parliamentarians are all chosen in one single election. Yet another difference has to do with the two entities that are the American Congress and the Parliament of the Republic of Ireland, which have influenced how governments are structured and their functions in the two countries. The terms Congress and Parliament are used to refer to the law making organs of their respective governments. The difference lies in the origin of the two words; Congress and Parliament.
The word Congress is often used by individuals to refer to the law making body of the American government. However, it is interesting to note that very few people are openly aware of its origins. Most Americans probably think that the word has its origin in the American society; that it is distinctively American. This is not the case. According to Pinion (2), the name Congress is based on an ancient Latin word ‘Congressum’ meaning ‘a coming together’. The name then seems to appropriately fit what it describes. Congress is indeed the ‘coming together’ of the legislators.
The legislators/government representatives, commonly referred to as Congress are usually individuals elected in different parts of America, but who come together for purposes of discussing and legislating important state issues. On the other hand, Parliament is said to have its origins from a French word ‘parlement’ denoting ‘to talk’ (Pinion, 2). Again, the word is apt. When one thinks of Parliament, the first image that comes to mind is that of people who have congregated together talking and deliberating on important issues affecting a country.
Certainly, a lot of talking does go in the Irish Republic Parliament; for instance on what actions are appropriate in what situations. Representatives to the Irish Republic Parliament are always talking to find workable solutions to the problems affecting the Irish public. In the Irish Republic Parliament, the Prime Minister (the head of government) and the cabinet are usually chosen from the party that has the most seats in Parliament (Pinion, 2). This has important ramification.
This may be the reason why in the event that the members of a particular party, that has majority seats in government opt to vote against the ideals of their party and against their faith in the ability of the prime minister to deliver, it is possible that the government may be destabilized. This then means that new elections may be held so as to elect a new Prime Minister into power. In order to avoid such occurrences, the parties may then restrict the freedoms of their party members as a way of ensuring that Prime ministers are not uprooted from power abruptly.
On the contrary, in the American Congress, the executive branch (the Presidency), is separate from the legislature (Pinion, 2). Since parties are not primal in the American Congress, the President is not chosen form the party with the most seats but is instead elected into power by the people. Consequently, members in the same party as the President are free to vote based on their conscience and on the wishes of the constituents they have been elected to represent.