-Irish Independence: Officially granted by treaty with the UK December 6, 1921
-Voting: 18 years of age; universal
-Chief of state: President Mary Mcaleese (since 11 November 1997)
-Head of government (“Taoiseach,” which literally translates into “chief”): Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (since June 1997)
-President elected for a term of seven years by popular vote (eligible for a second term). Last election was held October 31st, 1997. Next election scheduled for October 2011. (note: Mary Mcaleese appointed to a second term when no other candidate qualified for the 2004 presidential election).
-Prime minister (Taoiseach) nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president. The current government coalition includes Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats
Bicameral Parliament (“Oireachtas”) consists of the Senate and the House.
-The Senate (“Seanad Eireann”) has 60 seats, 49 of which are elected by the universities from candidates put forward by five vocational panels. 11 seats are nominated by the prime minister. Members serve five-year terms.
-The House of Representatives or “Dail Eireann” has 166 seats. Members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation, and serve five-year terms
-Judicial branch: Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president, on the recommendation of the prime minister and cabinet