Seanad Éireann has the following important constitutional functions:

  • Seanad Éireann provides a non-confrontational consideration of all legislation
  • Important legislation is frequently initiated in the Seanad rather than the Dáil
  • Important private members’ bills have been tabled by senators dealing with many issues of social policy and law reform
  • Seanad Éireann must give prior approval to EU proposals for enhanced co-operation, the Shengen Acquis, and Ireland’s ‘opt-out’ of EU measures on freedom, justice and security
  • Seanad Éireann can petition the President to put important bills to the people by referendum
  • Seanad Éireann has a veto over any proposal to impeach the President, to remove judges from office, or to remove the Comptroller and Auditor General from office
  • Up to two members of the Seanad may be appointed to cabinet as government ministers.