Members of Aosdána may receive the honour of Saoi. This is for singular and sustained distinction in the arts. The members of Aosdána elect a Saoi. The President of Ireland confers the symbol of the office of Saoi, the gold Torc. Not more than seven members of Aosdána may hold this honour at any one time.
To elect a Saoi, fifteen members must nominate a candidate of merit and distinction. The Toscaireacht shall ensure that the nomination has been made according to rule. Election occurs by secret ballot of all the members. An approval will consist of 50% + 1 of the membership, voting by postal ballot. An election shall take place as soon as may be practicable, following satisfactory nomination.
Only one nomination for Saoi per vacancy may be elected at a time. Where two or more artists are proposed at the same time, only the first proposal received shall be forwarded for election to the membership. The second and any subsequent ones shall be held in abeyance until the result of the election is known, and there is a further vacancy.
The Registrar will be the teller for the ballot. Only a positive or negative result will be declared. All voting papers cast shall be available for scrutiny by the Chair of the Arts Council and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Ballot papers cannot be destroyed without authorisation from these scrutineers. Ballot papers will be held for one calendar year from the closing date of the election.
The current Saoithe are Seóirse Bodley, Anthony Cronin, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Patrick Scott and Camille Souter.
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