About Government Departments

There are 16 Government departments. Each department is headed by a minister appointed by the Taoiseach. Get a list of Government Ministers and Ministers of State.

Each department has a permanent staff that remains in office regardless of changes in Government. The departments' staff are described as the civil service.

If you have a complaint about a decision or action of a Government department or a public body and have exhausted their internal complaints process, you may contact the Ombudsman.

List of Government Departments

Changes in the names and responsibilities of some departments were announced on 9 March 2011.

Department of Health: This Department is responsible for development of health policy and the planning of health services. Health services are provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Department of Social Protection: (was the Department of Social and Family Affairs). This Social Scheme, as well as responsibility for the payment of redundancy and insolvency payments.

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: This Department is responsible for the promotion and development of enterprise, employment, the protection of workers and the regulation of businesses. It also has responsibility for the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions.

Department of Finance: This Department is concerned with the economic and financial management of the State. It also advises the Government on the overall management and control of the public sector.

Department of Education and Skills: This Department is responsible for providing public education at primary and post-primary levels. It also manages State subsidies for universities and third-level colleges. Since 2010 it also has responsibility for the training activities of FÁS and the work of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs.

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. This Department is responsible for roads (other than local roads), driver testing, traffic issues, bus and rail transport, aviation policy, and road safety. It is also responsible for the growth of sustainable tourism and it promotes sport at local, regional, and national levels.

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government: This Department promotes development and protects amenities. It oversees the local authorities and has responsibility for community and rural development generally. In addition, the Department has functions relating to housing, manages elections, and promotes the protection of the environment. The Meteorological Office, and the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland are linked to this Department.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs: This Department is responsible for the development of harmonised policies and quality integrated service delivery for children and young people. It carries out specific functions in the social care field and drives coordinated actions across a range of sectors, including health, education, youth justice, sport, arts and culture.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This Department promotes and protects our interests abroad. It pursues peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. It is also responsible for foreign trade and development.

Department of Justice and Equality: (was the Department of Justice and Law Reform). This Department aims to protect the security of the State, to prevent and tackle crime and to protect individuals' rights and freedoms. It also deals with immigration.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: This Department advises the Government on the overall management and control of the public sector.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources: This Department has responsibility for the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. It promotes the development of a competitive energy supply industry and is responsible for ensuring the security and reliability of energy supply. It also regulates, protects and develops the inland fisheries and natural resources of Ireland. The Geological Survey of Ireland is linked to this Department.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: This Department regulates the agriculture and food industries.

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht: This Department is responsible for the development of arts and culture, and the conservation of both natural and built heritage. In addition, the Department promotes the social, physical and economic development of Gaeltacht areas and Irish as the principal community language in the Gaeltacht.

Department of Defence: This Department manages and controls the defence forces.

Department of the Taoiseach. This Department provides administrative and research support services to the Taoiseach and the Government.