Teachta Dála

A Teachta Dála ( /ˌtjɒxtə ˈdɔːlə/ TYOKH-tə DAW-lə, Irish: [ˌtʲaxt̪ˠə ˈd̪ˠaːlˠə] (listen);[1] plural Teachtaí Dála), abbreviated as TD (plural TDanna in Irish,[2] TDs in English), 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".[4][failed verification]


For electoral purposes, the Republic of Ireland 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.[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] 159 TDs were elected to the 33rd Dáil at the 2020 general election which was held on 8 February. As the Ceann Comhairle is automatically returned, there were 160 members of the 33rd Dáil when it convened on 20 February 2020.


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 at Westminster, to which they had been elected, assembled instead in the Mansion House in 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') (1919–22), 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 "Micheál Martin, 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 McDonald", "an Teachta Ní Dhomhnaill/Bhean Úi Dhomhnaill"[10] or "an Teachta Ó Domhnaill"[11]

Salaries and expensesEdit

The basic salary of a backbench TD is €96,189.[12] Cabinet ministers and junior ministers receive additional allowances. Office-holders (opposition party leaders, whips, the Ceann Comhairle, and Leas-Cheann Comhairle) also receive additional allowances.[13]

After controversy regarding alleged abuses of the Oireachtas expenses provisions, the system was simplified in 2009 and 2010 into two allowances:[14][15][16][17]

  • 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.[17]
  • Public Representation Allowance – for maintaining a constituency office; €20,350 for backbench TDs, less for ministers.[17] 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.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Teachta Dála". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022.
  2. ^ See e.g."Take Charge of Change" (PDF) (in English and Ga). 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.
  3. ^ a b "Dáil Éireann". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  4. ^ "The inaugural public meeting of Dáil Éireann". Dáil 100. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Electoral Act, 1992 – Part IX". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013, Section 2". Office of the Attorney General of Ireland. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  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. Vol. 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).; Please note that a wikilink to the article on [Ireland] in [EB1922] is not available
    • 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 Ga). 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. ^ Ms McDonald/Mrs McDonald
  11. ^ OR Houses of the Oireachtas (official site)
  12. ^ "TDs and Senators salaries". Houses of the Oireachtas. 1 January 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Allowances for additional responsibilities payable to Members of Dáil Éireann". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Revised system of expense allowances for Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas". Department of Finance, Government of Ireland. 10 February 2010. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  15. ^ Murphy, Cormac (21 January 2009). "Lavish expenses for Oireachtas face overhaul". Evening Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009". Irish Statute Book. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  17. ^ a b c "Parliamentary Standard Allowance (PSA) – Travel and Accommodation and Public Representation Allowances". Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  18. ^ Kelly, Fiach (6 December 2012). "Finally, TDs must provide receipts but no full reform". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 June 2013.