Government, regardless of the country, is the core influence as to how people live and shape their lives. One of the most fascinating aspects when visiting a new country is getting to see how its government is structured and how it affects the people under its jurisdiction. When I first entered Dublin, I have become instantly surrounded by its political presence. On May 22, 2015, Dublin will make a historical vote as to whether same-sex marriage is to be officially legalized. Throughout the city, posters supporting and against the movement are stationed at every street corner. Before entering Dublin, one of the reasons why I wanted to visit was to better understand how the government operates. Since this has become a national issue that has put the Irish Parliament in the spotlight, I wanted to investigate further as to how it would become a law if the majority of votes are in support of this notion. Therefore, I had the opportunity to visit the Irish Parliament, where I was given a brief synopsis as to how it works and who makes up the elected body when the elections occur. For this blog, I found it important to further discuss what type of government Dublin has and why it is important for visitors to understand its practices.
What must first be understood is that Ireland is a parliamentary democracy that is also referred to as the National Parliament of Ireland. Its body is recognized as the Oireachtas, which consists of the President, Dail Eireann (House of Representatives), and the Seanad Eireann (the Senate). The powers and functions of the Oireachtas are determined by the Irish Constitution (known as the Bunreacht na hEireann). According to the Constitution, the Oireachtas can only make laws and in return, the Government must follow the Dail (who is elected by the citizens of Ireland). Just like the United States, a law first begins as a Bill, which can be sent to either the Dail or Seanad. However, before any Bill is introduced, Government Departments and other affiliate groups will discuss how the Bill could possibly affect them. Once introduced, the Bill will go through five stages, where sequential reforms are made.The fifth stage makes the final discussion about the Bill. At this point, no more changes can be applied. A Bill can only pass if both the Dail and Seanad support it. If passed, the President is then given a copy to sign where it is declared as law. It is then given to the Registrar of the Supreme Court where it will be recorded as law.
The reason why I am referencing Dublin’s political structure is that regardless where you live, it is important to be globally aware how other international governments operate. Today, we now live in a world where information is virtually mobile giving anyone, anywhere access to its content. This virtual matrix of information not only allows individuals to stay in tune with current events, but now has become a powerful influence that can shape peoples’ perceptions on an international scale. Although, I only have practical knowledge as to how the Irish Parliament functions, I have come to learn that it is important regardless of geography, that individuals take the time to learn how foreign governments operate and what new laws are being put into motion. With social media as abundant as it is, a government like Ireland’s can have copious amounts of influence as to how other governments could function and produce laws in the future. Therefore, being astute to other international governments can help better rationalize how your own government may be influenced by neighboring political bodies and how this ultimately affects you as an individual.