This is a Kylaris Article of Recognition.

Tionól

Tionól of Caldia
33rd Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Íobhar Ó Rínn (PN)
Structure
Seats399
Tionól Composition.svg
Political groups
Government (218)

Opposition (181)

Length of term
5 years
Elections
Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP)
Last election
18 February 2019
Next election
12 June 2022
Meeting place
Plenisalen.jpg
Meeting Chamber
Carrowdun Palace, Spálgleann
Website
tionól.gl

The Tionól of Caldia, often simply the Tionól and unofficially the Comhthionól, is the unicameral supreme legislative body in Caldia. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in Caldia.

The constitutional powers of the Tionól are outlined in the Instruments for Governance of 1857, 1965, and 2021. Its internal workings are determined by a series of different legislation.

Its seat is Carrowdun Palace in Spálgleann. The legislature has its earliest roots in the Déisi Glaíteann and later the Seanad Glaíteann. The first iteration of the Tionól was the bicameral Tionól established in 1857. Starting in 2021, the legislature became unicameral.

The most recent election was held on 18 February 2019. The Social Democratic Party won a majority of the seats and formed the Mac Suibhne cabinet.

Name

The name Tionól literally means meeting in Ghaillish. It can also be translated as assembly. Tionól was derived from the name of the bodies that advised the High Chiefs of the petty kingdoms that existed before the unification of Caldia. The name was first adopted in 1857 when the legislature became bicameral. For several decades after, it was popularly referred to as the Seanad (literally "Senate") but this fell out of use by the early 20th century.

While the unicameral legislature is officially known as the Tionól, it is still often called the Comhthionól Náisiúnta (literally "National Assembly") or Comhthionól ("Assembly"). This is due to the fact that the now defunct Comhthionól became the Tionól.

History

Before the Silent Revolution, Caldia was governed in accordance with the 1814 constitution. Legislative power was vested in the Seanad Glaíteann, which was partially democratic. A representative for each of Caldia's 25 counties was elected every four years. Originally, the Seanad was composed of the 25 elected members, 20 hereditary peers, 9 members appointed by the Church of Caldia, 6 appointed by the main universities, and 10 senators appointed directly by the monarch. The new legislature replaced the Déisi Glaíteann, which was a council of the nation's nobility. With the abolition of the Déisi, the existing system of tanistry was altered so that the monarch had the power to name their heir apparent from among the righdamhna, a power that was previously invested in the Déisi.

Mary III played a central role in the adoption of the constitution, nominating the liberal Aoibheann Ní Chuinn to the position in 1812. The position of Laird Chancellor has its earliest roots in the thirteenth century during the reforms of King Alastar. The expansion of the powers of the Déisi in the seventeenth century limited the powers of the monarch and in turn the Laird Chancellor. However, both the monarch and the Laird Chancellor retained significant authority. Such authority remained in place after the implementation of the 1814 constitution. Executive authority was officially held by the monarch, who would delegate such authority to the Laird Chancellor. The Laird Chancellorship was almost always held by peer or bishop.

Carrowdun Palace has served as the seat of the Tionól since 1906.

The Comhthionól was established by the Instrument for Governance Act of 1857, the first major amendment to the 1814 constitution. The legislation came from a movement known as the Silent Revolution, which sought to reform Caldish politics and liberalize society. The need for reforms was identified by Dónall Ó Conaill and his liberal allies, who worried about a popular uprising following similar revolts in Euclea. The chamber was composed of 400 elected members, who were known as Teachti Comhthionól (TCs). TCs were to be elected from constituencies across the nation under a first-past-the-post system. Two TCs were chosen for each electoral district, with the two candidates receiving the most votes by plurality winning the seat.

From its creation in 1857 until 1965, it had the same powers as the Seanad Glaíteann. The upper house had been altered so that it now had 60 members which were directly elected. Two represented each of Caldia's 25 counties. The remaining 10 senators were appointed by the monarch on the advice of the government. The chamber had less control over legislation due to the status of the Comhthionól, but did have say over the budget. If the two chambers were in disagreement, issues had to be re-addressed through the submission of a new joint proposal. These proposals were facilitated by standing committees consisting of members from both chambers.

In 1965, the number of TCs was reduced from 400 to 399 in order to end the practice of drawing lots when a vote in the chamber ended in a deadlock. The Comhthionól also became the principal chamber as the powers of the Seanad were significantly reduced through the Instrument for Governance of 1965. The upper house's composition was also altered. The numeber of senators was reduced from 70 to 60. Only t26 were elected, with each county of Caldia electing one senator. 15 of the senators were directly appointed by the taoiseach and served at his or her pleasure. First starting in 2008, one third of the taoiseach's appointments were required to come from ethnic and minority backgrounds. The Leader of the Opposition appointed four senators. The remaining 15 senators were selected from five special constituencies. These constituencies represented agricultural groups, employers' organizations, the six main national universities, trade unions, and religious and cultural organizations. They were required to sit as independents. Each constituency elected three members to the chamber.

Under the Instrument for Governance of 2021, both chambers were technically abolished. The Seanad was disbanded on 12 May 2021 and the Comhthionól functionally became the unicameral Tionól. The lower house's rules, procedures, members, and officers carried over.

Powers and structure

The Tionól fulfills the typical functions of a legislature in a parliamentary democracy. The legislature is responsible for drafting and enacting laws, amending the constitution, nominating a government, and passing a budget. It also approves agreements with foreign governments and must sanction any action undertaken by the Caldish military.

The monarch is responsible for tasking a politician to form a government that must be approved by the Tionól. The monarch selects the candidate who is most likely to command a majority in the legislature. Prior to 1965, a government had to receive a majority of votes cast. The 1965 Instrument for Governance altered this practice so that a government only needed more votes for it than against it, allowing for abstentions. The Tionól has the authority to pass a motion of no-confidence in the head of government, in the government, or in an individual government officer.

Members of the Tionól work in parliamentary groups. These typically correspond to the political parties represented in the legislature. At times, Independent members have sat with another party's parliamentary group. Groups elect their own leader from among their parliamentary ranks. The groups are generally lead by the leader of each political party. As such, the party leadership holds significant sway over the groups. Despite this, the group typically tries to reach a unanimous decision before a parliamentary vote is taken. These factors contribute to Caldia's relatively high levels of party discipline. Dissidents can be expelled from the group or leave and form their own group or sit independently of any group. Currently, there are nine groups with each party represented in the Tionól maintaining its own parliamentary group. One of the Independent members belongs to the Centre Party's group while the other does not belong to any group.

There are 15 standing committees with permanent members. Committees can be created on an ad-hoc basis should the Tionól pass legislation required to do so.

Composition

The Tionól has 399 members. A member of the legislature is legally known as a Teachta Tionól (TT) which literally means a Deputy of the Meeting. Operationally, a member is referred to as Teachta Comhthionól (TC) or a Deputy of the Assembly. This is what members of the now defunct Comhthionól Náisiúnta were known as. Since the Comhthionól effectively became the unicameral Tionól, the old title remains widely used in official parliamentary and other sources.

Membership of the Tionól is open to Caldish citizens who are 18 or older. To become a member, an individual must be a Caldish citizens, an EC citizen residing in Caldia, or a legally registered resident of Caldia.

Of the chambers 399 members, a majority (213 or 53.4%) are women. Caldia is among the nations with the highest proportion of females in a national legislature and is one of the few with a majority of the chamber being female. 45 (11.3%) of the chamber's members are from an ethnic minority or foreign background.

Members of the Tionól are full-time legislators. They receive a salary of €6250 per month, or €75,000 annually. Many of the chamber's members maintain a residence in Spálgleann on either a part-time or full-time basis. Members who are elected to represent constituencies are required to live in their constituency, however many also have an additional residence in the capital.

Parties

Following the 2019 election, there are nine parties represented in the Tionól. The largest is the Social Democratic Party with 218 members and the smallest are the Pensioners' Party and Homeland party, both of which have one seat.

218 89 57 12 8 6 5 1 1 2
Current party representation in the Tionól
Party Leaders Seats Seat
share (%)
Social Democratic Party (PSD) Stiofán Mac Suibhne 218 54.64
Liberty Party (S) Pádraig Mac Piarais 89 22.31
National Party (PN) Liam Ó Cuillinn 57 14.29
Centre Party (PM) Lachlann Mac an Fhleisteir 12 3.00
Democratic Left (DC) Seán Ó Caoláin 8 2.01
The Greens (G) Colm Ó Corráin
Ciara Nic Innes
6 1.50
Caldish Democrats (D) Muirís Ó Branagáin 5 1.25
Homeland (M/TD) Einion ap Calder 1 0.25
Pensioners' Party (PP) Ellie Níc Raghnaill 1 0.25
Independent 2 0.5
Total 399 100

Elections

Members are directly elected at least once every five years by the electorate of Caldia under a mixed-member proportional representation system. Its 399 seats were divided into 200 multi-member constituencies and 199 seats that were allocated based on a party's vote share using an open list. Parties are required to pass a threshold of 2.5% to qualify to win list seats. There are 52 multi-member constituencies. Each consistency has between three and five members. A version of single-transferable vote known as the Ní Dochartaigh method is used for the constituencies. Under this process, voters rank candidates by first and second preference. Unlike other methods of single transferable vote, they can only rank candidates in this order and cannot transfer their vote to more than one additional candidate. This is similar to the contingent vote system, but members are not required to be elected with a majority as they stand in multi-member constituencies.

The last election was held on 18 February 2019. The next regularly scheduled election will be held on 12 June 2022.

2019 election results

Tionól Composition.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Social Democrats (PSD) 3,140,869 48.8 218 +101
Liberty Party (S) 1,184,262 18.4 89 -67
National Party (PN) 875,324 13.6 57 +34
Centre (PM) 258,092 4 12 -21
Labour Party (PLO) 199,522 3.1 8 -20
The Greens (G) 193,086 3 6 –5
Caldish Democrats (D) 161,549 2.5 5 -13
Caldish Independence Party (PNG) 147,389 2.3 0 –6
Pensioners' Party (PP) 75,304 1.2 1
Homeland (M/TD) 12,916 .2 1 +1
Forward (Y/AA) 10,942 .2 0 -1
Other parties 95,256 1.48 0 -
Independents 81,740 1.3 2 +2
Invalid/blank votes 37,801
Total 6,474,052 100 399 0
Registered voters/turnout 7,347,270 87.6

Leadership

The speaker, or presiding officer, of the Tionól is the Ceann Comhairle. The Ceann Comhairle is chosen from among TCs but is expected to observe strict impartiality. Despite this, the government will usually try to select one of its own for the position, if its numbers allow. To protect the neutrality of the chair, an incumbent Ceann Comhairle does not seek re-election as a TC but rather is deemed automatically to have been re-elected at a general election, unless they are retiring. The Ceann Comhairle does not vote except in the event of a tie. The current Ceann Comhairle was Proinnsias Ó Loingsigh, who has served as the presiding officer since 2019, first as Ceann Comhairle of the Comhthionól Náisiúnta.

There are also three deputy speakers, or Leas-Cheann Comhairle. They are elected on a single ballot where the three candidates who receive the most votes assume their respective office.

Each party has a whip who is responsible for enforcing party discipline. As such, whips play an important leadership role in the legislature. The current government whip is Shabana Sarwar.

Sessions

In a normal legislative year, there are two legislative sessions. The first session marks the return of the legislature from the Nativity and Winter Recesses. The monarch presides over the official State Opening of the Tionól on the he first Monday following the Epiphany holiday. The State Opening starts with a procession down the Royal Mile starting from Clochnoc Fortress and terminates at Carrowdun Palace. It also sees a speech from the throne made by the monarch, which outlines the government's agenda for the first session. Both chambers are present for the official opening of the first legislative session. The first session ends in July with the Summer Recess. The Tionól reconvenes on the third Sunday of August for the start of the second session, which ends with the close of the legislature for that legislative year on the third Sunday of December. The close is presided over by the monarch.

Carrowdun Palace
Chamber

In a legislative year with a general election, there are three legislative sessions. Instead of ending in July, the first session ends when the Tionól is dissolved by the monarch on 12 May, a month before the election is set to take place, following the issuing of the writ of elections. A care-taker government led by the current government is then in place until the Tionól reconvenes on the first Monday following the election. However, it cannot reconvene unless a government can be formed, meaning the recess may last longer than the first Monday. The second session then lasts from June to July and the third from August to December.

The Tionól is generally in session Monday to Thursday. However, it will meet on Friday's when there is legislation the Government or the Ceann Comhairle designates as urgent. Many TCs take advantage of the lack of regular Friday sessions and opt to return to their constituencies for the weekend to handle local matters. Recesses, however, officially declare the Tionól closed on designated Fridays. This means that the presiding officer in either chamber cannot call the chamber back for an emergency session. However, the monarch is able to issue a writ of return. Cabinet meetings take place on Monday mornings, meaning Cabinet ministers are absent from the Tionól. This time is traditionally reserved by the introduction of private member's bills. On Wednesday's at noon, the Taoiseach holds a session of Taoiseach's Questions. Party leaders and backbenchers are invited to ask him or her questions about the government's agenda for the legislative session. Four cabinet member's also usually make themselves available for questioning after the Taoiseach is finished.

Recesses

During the the 2020 calendar year, the Tionól is scheduled to be in recess a total of nine times.

In an election year, the legislature enters a General Election Recess from 12 May to the first Monday after the 12 June election. It goes into recces following the following the dissolution of the Tionól on 12 May.

Name Dates Notes
Winter Recess 1 January - 11 January Is an extension of the Nativity Recess.
Liberation Day Holiday Recess 12 February The public holiday for Liberation day was observed on Friday 12 February.
Easter Recess 29 March April - 5 April The recess is in accordance with the Easter Holiday and moves on a yearly basis.
Beltane Holiday Recess 1 May
National Day Holiday Recess 20 May
Summer Recess 1 July - 16 August
St. Ellen's Day Holiday Recess 76 September - 10 September
October Recess 4 October - 8 October
Nativity Recess 13 December - 31 December