The debate on political reform in Ireland focuses on certain clearly identified targets: the size of the Dáil, the existence of the Senate, and the electoral system, for example. This article considers an area that is rather more important for the policy making and implementation process: the quality of the government, and the mechanics of the appointment of government ministers. It draws attention to Ireland’s dependence on parliamentarians—almost unique in Europe—and reviews the constitutional and political history of the Irish system of ministerial appointments. It highlights the position in other parliamentary democracies, where ministers are not normally required to be parliamentarians; in many countries, indeed, ministers are prohibited from being parliamentarians. The article argues that a reconsideration of the dual ministerial – Dáil deputy mandate is now appropriate
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