Our Constitution does little to safeguard the country should Enda Kenny decide not dissolve the Dáil to make way for the General Election
Speculation is rife that Enda Kenny will go to the President on Wednesday and advise him to dissolve the Dáil. Thus officially kicking off General Election 2016. But what happens if the Taoiseach decided not to? Is there a safeguard in the Irish Constitution against a Taoiseach becoming a tyrant?
It turns out there isn't really.
The Constitution says the Dáil term is seven years but that this can be shortened by law (Article 16.5). The Electoral Act 1992 does exactly this. It states the terms is five years from date of the first meeting of the current Dáil.
This means the election must be held before 11th April 2016.
How is an election called?
The Taoiseach goes to the President and advises him to dissolve the Dail.
What if he doesn't do it? Can the President dissolve the Dáil?
No. The President has no power to dissolve the Dáil against the advice of the Taoiseach.
So, what happens if Enda doesn't do it in time?
Nobody really knows. According to Dr Fergus Ryan from NUI Maynooth this is one of those situations where the Constitution could have been better drafted.
There is no clearly defined constitutional process to deal with what would be a significant crisis.
Ultimately, the following process would likely unfold:
The point is, it's all a guessing game. There is no provision in Irish constitutional law with how to deal with a Taoiseach who becomes a tyrant.