Teachta Dála

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A TD (plural TDanna in Irish;[1] full Irish form Teachta Dála /ˌtjɒxtə ˈdɔːlə/, Irish: [ˈtʲaxt̪ˠə ˈd̪ˠɑːlˠə],[2] plural Teachtaí Dála)[3] is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament). It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" (MP) or "Member of Congress" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil",[4] although a more literal translation is "Assembly Delegate".[citation needed]


For electoral purposes, the country is divided into areas known as constituencies, each of which elects three, four, or five TDs. Under the Constitution, every 20,000 to 30,000 people must be represented by at least one TD.[4] A candidate to become a TD must be an Irish citizen and over 21 years of age.[5] Members of the judiciary, the Garda Síochána, and the Defence Forces are disqualified from membership of the Dáil.[5]

Until the 31st Dáil (2011–2016), the number of TDs had increased to 166. The 2016 general election elected 158 TDs, a reduction of 8, pursuant to the passage of the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013.[6]


The term was first used to describe those Irish parliamentarians[7] who were elected at the 1918 general election, and who, rather than attending the British House of Commons in London, to which they had been elected, assembled instead in the Mansion House, Dublin on 21 January 1919 to create a new Irish parliament: the First Dáil Éireann. Initially the term "Feisire Dáil Eireann" (F.D.E.) was mooted,[8] but "Teachta" was used from the first meeting.[9] The term continued to be used after this First Dáil and was used to refer to later members of the Irish Republic's single-chamber Dáil Éireann (or "Assembly of Ireland") (1919–1922), members of the Free State Dáil (1922–1937), and of the modern Dáil Éireann.[citation needed]


The initials "TD" are placed after the surname of the elected TD. For example, the current Taoiseach (head of government) is "Enda Kenny, TD". The style used to refer to individual TDs during debates in Dáil Éireann is the member's surname preceded by Deputy (Irish: an Teachta): for example, "Deputy Martin", "an Teachta Ó Máirtín".[10]

Salaries and expenses

The basic salary of a backbench TD was reduced by €5,414 to €87,258 in 2013, in line with the Haddington Road Agreement on public sector pay and reform. Cabinet ministers and junior ministers have higher salaries. Office-holders (opposition party leaders, whips, the Ceann Comhairle, and Leas-Cheann Comhairle) receive additional allowances.[11]

After controversy regarding alleged abuses of the Oireachtas expenses provisions, the system was simplified in 2009 and 2010 into two allowances:[12][13][14][15]

  • Travel and Accommodation Allowance – ranging from €9,000 for TDs less than 25 km from Leinster House to €34,065 for those more than 360 km away.[15]
  • Public Representation Allowance – for maintaining a constituency office; €20,350 for backbench TDs, less for ministers.[15] All expenses must be vouched, except for a "petty cash" allowance of €100 per month. Until December 2012 TDs could choose between a €25,000 vouched allowance or €15,000 unvouched.[16]

See also


  1. ^ See e.g."Take Charge of Change" (PDF) (in English and Irish). Dublin: Office of the President. 2012. pp. 3, 7. Retrieved 2013-08-14. Empower local Government so that our national representatives TDs don't engage in parochial politics./Cumhacht a thabhairt don Rialtas áitiúil ionas nach mbeidh ár gcuid ionadaithe náisiúnta, na TDanna, i mbun na polaitíochta paróistí. 
  2. ^ "Teachta Dála: definition of Teachta Dála in Oxford dictionary (British & World English). Meaning, pronunciation and origin of the word". Oxford Language Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  3. ^ Pronunciation for the plural suffix of Teachtaí is /-ti/
  4. ^ a b "Deputy to Dáil Éireann – Teachta Dála". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  5. ^ a b "Electoral Act, 1992 – Part IX". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  6. ^ "Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013, Section 2". Office of the Attorney General of Ireland. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  7. ^ 73 out of 105 seats won in Ireland at the 1918 general election were by Sinn Féin members. Unionist and Irish Parliamentary Party members refused to recognise the Dáil, and so did not attend.
  8. ^ e.g.
    • Phillips, Walter Alison (1922). "Ireland". Encyclopædia Britannica. 31 (12th ed.). p. 573. Retrieved 21 October 2016. The victorious group assumed the title of the Irish Republican party, and styled themselves not M.P., but F.D.E. (Feisire Dail Eireann, i.e. members of the Assembly of Ireland). ;
    • Cork Examiner, 21 January 1919, "The M.P.s, or F.D.Es (Feisire Dáil Eireann) as they will be known in future, [etc.]" (cited in Ferris, Lisa (September 2008). Irish Views on Old Austria and Austrian Views on the Irish Question, 1848–1918 (PDF) (Thesis). University of Vienna. p. 609. Retrieved 21 October 2016. )
  9. ^ "Prelude". First Dáil proceedings (in Irish). Oireachtas. 21 January 1919. c.9. Retrieved 21 October 2016. Tháinig na Teachtaí I gceann a chéile I nÁrus Árd-Mhéire Bhaile Átha Cliath ar a 3.30 iar nóin. 
  10. ^ Houses of the Oireahctas (official site)
  11. ^ "Allowances for additional responsibilities payable to Members of Dáil Éireann". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  12. ^ "Revised system of expense allowances for Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas – Department of Finance – Government of Ireland". Department of Finance. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  13. ^ Murphy, Cormac (21 January 2009). "Lavish expenses for Oireachtas face overhaul". Evening Herald. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  14. ^ "Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009". Irish Statute Book. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  15. ^ a b c "Parliamentary Standard Allowance (PSA) – Travel and Accommodation and Public Representation Allowances". Oirachtas. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  16. ^ Kelly, Fiach (6 December 2012). "Finally, TDs must provide receipts but no full reform". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
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