Irish Government Structure
Government type: Republic, parliamentary democracy
-Geographic coordinates: 53 20 N, 6 15 W
-Ireland's administrative divisions coincide with the 26 counties; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow (Note: Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan are part of the Ulster Province
-Irish Independence: Officially granted by treaty with the UK December 6, 1921
-Constitution: First adopted July 1st, 1937 by plebiscite. Went into effect December 29, 1937
-Legal System: Based on English common law, but has been modified by indigenous concepts. Irish supreme court has right to review all legislative acts
-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)
-Cabinet: appointed by the president after nomination by the prime minister and approval of the House of Representatives
-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
-Senate: Last held on the 16th and 17th of July, 2002. Next election schedules for July 2007
House of Representatives: Last elected May 17th, 2002. Next election scheduled for May 2007
-Judicial branch: Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president, on the recommendation of the prime minister and cabinet
Diplomatic representation in the US
-Chief of Mission: Ambassador Noel Fahey
-Chancery: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 462-3939 Fax: (202) 232-5993
-Consulates General: Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco
-Diplomatic Representation from the US: Chief of Mission: Ambassador James C. Kenny
-US Embassy in Ireland: 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Telephone:  (1) 668-8777 Fax:  (1) 668-9946
Flag of Ireland description
Flag is comprised of three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange. Irish flag is similar to the flag of Cote d'Ivoire (which is shorter and has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green). Also similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter and has colors of green (hoist side), white, and red.
Time difference from the USA
5 hours ahead of New York eastern standard time
-Daylight saving time: One hour added to clocks on last Sunday in March. Daylight saving time ends on the last Sunday in October