Bunreacht Dála Éireann 1919

An Chéad Dáil Éireann adopted four documents when it met for the first time on January 21st, 1919. Among them was a short five part ‘Constitution of Dáil Éireann’. It allowed for the creation of a five person ‘Ministry’, a de facto cabinet made up of a President of the Ministry and a Secretary of Finance, a Secretary of Home Affairs, a Secretary of Foreign Affairs and a Secretary of National Defence.

Cathal Brugha was elected as the President of the Ministry as Eamon De Valera was imprisoned in England. De Valera replaced Brugha in the role in April 1919.

Eoin MacNeill became the Secretary of Finance, Michael Collins the Secretary of Finance, Count Plunkett the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Richard Mulcahy the Secretary of National Defence.

The constitution also made provision for the election of a Chairperson and Deputy-Chairperson of the Dáil, the oversight of public expenditure and for amendments to be made to the constitution.

Below we produce the text of Bunreacht Dála Éireann in both gaeilge and english.

Bunreacht Dála Éireann

AN CHEUD ALT.

Beidh iomlán comhachta chun dlighthe dheunamh ag Dáil Éireann agus isé bheidh san Dáil ná teachtaí toghtha ag muintir na hÉireann ó sna dáilcheanntair atá san tír fé láthair.

AN DARA hALT.

1. Beidh iomlán comhachta gnímh éan tráth aca so a bheidh I bhfeadhmannus san Aireacht an tráth soin.

2. Isé bheidh san Aireacht ná Príomh-aireach, toghtha ag Dáil Éireann, agus ceathrar Aireach eile, eadhon:

Aireach Airgid.

Aireach Gnóthaí Dúthchais.

Aireach Gnóthaí Coigcríoch.

Aireach Cosanta

Isé an Príomh-Aireach ainmneochaidh an ceathrar Aireach eile, agus beidh de chomhacht aige iad do chur as feadhmannus.

3. Is éigean do gach Aireach bheith n-a Theachta san Dáil agus beidh sé freagarthach I gcomhnuidhe don Dáil.

4. Is éigean ainmneacha na nAireach do chur fé bhrághaid na Dála ag an gceud thionól taréis don Phríomh-Aireach a n-ainmniughadh, I gcóir a ndeimhnighthe.

5. Beidh an príomh-Aireach I bhfeadhmannus chomh luath is a thoghfar é, agus beidh na hAirigh eile I bhfeadhmannus chomh luath agus a dheimhneóchaidh an Dáil a n-ainmneacha.

6. Is féidir don Dáil an Aireacht nó éan duine desna hAirigh do chur as feadhmhannus le neart bhótaí má chuirtear foláramh rúin fé scríbhinn d'éan toisc chuige sin isteach seacht lá roimh ré.

AN TRÍOMHADH ALT.

Ceann Comhairle toghtha ag an Dáil I naghaidh na bliadhna, nó Ceann Ionaid toghtha I naghaidh na bliadhna, muna mbíonn an Ceann Comhailre I láthair, a bheidh I gceannas gach tionóil den Dáil. Ní bheidh I gceannas infheadhma I gcóir na n-ionad so acht Teachtaí de'n Dáil. Má bhíonn an Ceann Comhairle agus an Ceann Ionaid as láthair, ceapfaidh an Dáil lucht ionaid nó toghfaidh siad Ceann Comhairle sealadach.

AN CEATHRAMHADH ALT.

Gheobhaidh an tAireach pé airgead bheidh uaidh de bhárr bhóta na Dála. Beidh an tAireach freagarthach don Dáil san airgead a gheobhfar mar sin agus leagfaidh sé cúntaisí mionscrúduighthe ar chaitheamh an airgid fé bhrághaid na Dála dhá uair sa bhliadhain - um Shamhain is um Bealtaine. Scrúdaidhe nó Scrúdaidhthe toghtha ag an Dáil a dheunfaidh an mionscrúdadh. Ní féidir éin Teachta den Dáil do thoghadh mar Scrúdaidhe.

AN CÚIGMHADH ALT.

Bunreacht sealadach é seo agus is féidir é d'atharughadh ach foláramh fé scríbhinn do thabhairt d'éan toisc chuige sin, seacht lá roimh ré.

Constitution of Dáil Éireann

Article 1

All legislative powers shall be vested in Dáil Éireann, composing of Deputies, elected by the Irish people from the existing Irish Parliamentary constituencies.

Article 2

1. All executive powers shall be vested in the members, for the time being, of the Ministry.

2. The Ministry shall consist of a President of the Ministry, elected by Dáil Éireann, and four Executive Officers:

Secretary of Finance

Secretary of Home Affairs

Secretary of Foreign Affairs

Secretary of National Defence

each of whom the President shall nominate and have power to dismiss.

3. Every member of the Ministry shall be a member of Dáil Éireann, and shall at all times be responsible to the Dáil.

4. At the first meeting of Dáil Éireann after their nomination by the President, the names of the Executive Officers shall be separately submitted to Dáil Éireann for approval.

5. The appointment of the President shall date from his election, and the appointment of each Executive Officer from the date of the approval by the Dáil of his nomination.

6. The Ministry or any member thereof may at any time be removed by vote of the Dáil upon motion for that specific purpose, provided that at least seven days notice in writing of that motion shall have been given.

Article 3

A Chairman elected annually by the Dáil, and in his absence a Deputy Chairman so elected, shall preside at all meetings of Dáil Eireann. Only members of the Dáil shall be eligible for these offices. In case of the absence of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman the Dáil shall fill the vacancies or elect a temporary Chairman.

Article 4

All monies required by the Ministry shall be obtained on vote of the Dáil. The Ministry shall be responsible to the Dáil for all monies so obtained, and shall present properly audited accounts for the expenditure of the same -twice yearly- in the months of May and November. The audit shall be conducted by an Auditor or Auditors appointed by the Dáil. No member of the Dáil shall be eligible for such appointment.

Article 5

This Constitution is provisional and is liable to alteration upon seven days written notice of motion for that specific purpose.