Teachta Dála

A TD (plural TDanna in Irish[1] or TDs in English; in full Teachta Dála /ˌtjɒxtə ˈdɔːlə/ TYOKH-tə DAW-lə, Irish: [ˌtʲaxt̪ˠə ˈd̪ˠaːlˠə] (listen);[2] plural Teachtaí Dála)[lower-alpha 1] 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 countries. The official translation of the term is 'Deputy to the Dáil',[3] although a more literal translation is "Assembly Delegate".


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.[3] A candidate to become a TD must be an Irish citizen and over 21 years of age.[4] Members of the judiciary, the Garda Síochána, and the Defence Forces are disqualified from membership of the Dáil.[4]

Until the 31st Dáil (2011–16), 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.[5]


The term was first used to describe those Irish parliamentarians[6] 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,[7] but "Teachta" was used from the first meeting.[8] 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") (1919–22), members of the Free State Dáil (1922–37), and of the modern Dáil Éireann.


The initials "TD" are placed after the surname of the elected TD. For example, the current Taoiseach (head of government) is "Leo Varadkar, 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 Ní(Bhean Úi) Mháirtín" or "an Teachta Ó Máirtín"[9]

Salaries and expenses

The basic salary of a backbench TD is €96,189.[10] 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. Pronunced /-ti -/ -tee - in English, [-t̪ˠiː -] in Irish.


  1. See e.g."Take Charge of Change" (PDF) (in English and Irish). Dublin: Office of the President. 2012. pp. 3, 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 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". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  3. "Deputy to Dáil Éireann – Teachta Dála". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  4. "Electoral Act, 1992 – Part IX". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  5. "Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013, Section 2". Office of the Attorney General of Ireland. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  6. 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.
  7. e.g.
  8. "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.
  9. OR Houses of the Oireahctas (official site)
  10. "TDs and Senators salaries". Houses of the Oireachtas. 1 January 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  11. "Allowances for additional responsibilities payable to Members of Dáil Éireann". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  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. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  13. Murphy, Cormac (21 January 2009). "Lavish expenses for Oireachtas face overhaul". Evening Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  14. "Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009". Irish Statute Book. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  15. "Parliamentary Standard Allowance (PSA) – Travel and Accommodation and Public Representation Allowances". Oirachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  16. Kelly, Fiach (6 December 2012). "Finally, TDs must provide receipts but no full reform". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
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