The Attorney General is the advisor to the Irish Government on matters of law and legal opinion. Article 30 of the Constitution (or Bunreacht na hEireann) created the office of the Attorney General. He or she is appointed by the Taoiseach and leaves the office if the Government changes. Usually the person appointed is a lawyer who is politically associated with the party in power.
While the Attorney General is not a member of the Government, he or she traditionally attends at Cabinet meetings. The Attorney General has an important role, including:
Advising the Government on all the constitutional and legal issues which arise in connection with or at Government meetings. This includes advising whether proposed legislation complies with the provisions of the Irish Constitution, Acts and Treaties of the European Union or other international treaties to which Ireland has acceded.
Representating the public in all legal proceedings for the enforcement of law in Ireland and the assertion or protection of public rights
Acting as lawyer for the State in virtually all civil litigation in which the State or its officers are official parties.
Giving legal advice on matters that are submitted by Government, Departments and Offices and drafting necessary accompanying legal documents
Providing a solicitor service in all civil courts and tribunals in which the State, any State Authority or the Attorney General is involved.
The Attorney General’s office oversees the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and the Parliamentary Draftsman’s Office.