The Ceann Comhairle is the speaker of Dáil Éireann, one part of the Oireachtas, or Irish parliament. Afer a general election, the first business is to elect a new Ceann Comhairle, who will act as the speaker of the house, and the mediator of proper conduct, and general practices of the house. In addition, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, or Deputy Chairman, is also elected at this time.
The general duties of the Ceann Comhairle are to call on members of the house to speak, and decide who shall speak at any given time. He mediates debates, arranges votes in the event of an impasse, and manages house discipline. He has the power to ask a member to leave the house, or to suspend the member from the house for a time. He also has the power to adjourn the house if he sees fit.
He is also responsible for bringing each discussion to a close when he feels it has been discussed sufficiently, which is arguably his most important role, and the one where he wields the most power.
He is also responsible for inspecting any new laws, rules, or standing orders, to ensure they comply with previous ones, before they are even discussed.
Although he is a member of a political party, if a member is elected Ceann Comhairle, he refrains from any one political agenda, and gives equal standing to members of all parties, including independants. He still has an obligation to his constituents, though.
If there is a tie in a vote in the Dáil, the Ceann Comhairle has the casting vote.
If the president of Ireland should be unable to fulfil their duties due to absence, or incapacitation, the Ceann Comhairle is automatically a member of the Council of State, which discharges the president's duties for that time.