The Oireachtas works with other parliamentary assemblies within Europe and beyond. Foreign parliamentarians regularly visit the Oireachtas to study policy issues and have discussions with their Irish counterparts, and Members of the Oireachtas travel to other parliaments too.
The Oireachtas also participates in European and international parliamentary assemblies. Ireland is a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security Co-operation in Europe.
The purpose of all of this work is to foster good working relationships, promote debate, create a greater understanding on issues of mutual concern and agree common positions where possible.
The political interaction and relationship between the EU institutions and the Houses of the Oireachtas is handled mainly by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union Affairs. The Oireachtas is represented to the EU institutions by the Oireachtas National Parliament Office in Brussels.
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union Affairs plays a key role in informing debate on the EU in Ireland. It considers important EU developments and initiatives affecting Ireland and ensures EU legislation and proposals are properly scrutinised. It also holds the Government to account in Ireland’s relations with Europe. The committee attends the bi-annual Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs (COSAC).