Eire/Leader of the Opposition

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Employment.png Eire/Leader of the Opposition 
(Leader of the Opposition)

Leader of the Opposition in the Irish Parliament; the leader of the largest political party party that is not in government

The Leader of the Opposition in Ireland is a term sometimes used to describe the politician who, de facto, leads the largest party in the Parliamentary Opposition in the lower house of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann. In the Dáil, the Leader of the Opposition sits on the right-hand side of the Ceann Comhairle and directly opposite the Taoiseach. The role is not an official one and is not recognised in the Irish constitution, nor in legislation.

The Leader of the Opposition is, by convention, the leader of the largest political party party in the Dáil that is not in government. Opposition leaders leading a political party with five members or more have full speaking rights under Dáil standing orders; smaller parties and independent politicians are allowed to speak less often.

Historically the two largest parties have nearly always been Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and so the position of Leader of the Opposition has alternated between them. However, immediately following Irish secession from the UK in 1922, the leader of the Labour Party acted as Leader of the Opposition as Sinn Féin, and later Fianna Fáil, refused to take their seats in Dáil Éireann.


Office Holders on Wikispooks

Michael Noonan9 February 20015 June 2002
John Bruton26 June 19979 February 2001
John Bruton20 November 199015 December 1994
Garret Fitzgerald10 March 198214 December 1982
Garret Fitzgerald5 July 197730 June 1981