Teachta Dála

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A TD (plural TDanna in Irish;[1] full Irish form Teachta Dála /ˌtjɒxtə ˈdɔːlə/,[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] though a more literal translation is "Assembly Delegate".

Overview[edit]

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

There are 166 TDs in the 31st Dáil. The next general election will elect 158 TDs, a reduction of 8, following the passing of the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013.[6]

History[edit]

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. 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.

Style[edit]

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".

Salaries and expenses[edit]

The basic salary of a backbench TD was reduced by €17,000 to €92,672 in 2010, in line with general public sector paycuts in response to the Irish financial crisis.[8][9] Cabinet ministers and junior ministers have higher salaries. Office-holders (opposition party leaders, whips, the Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle) receive additional allowances.[10]

After controversy regarding alleged abuses of the Oireachtas expenses provisions, the system was simplified in 2009 and 2010 into two allowances.[11][12][13][14]

  • Travel and Accommodation Allowance – ranging from €9,000 for TDs less than 25km from Leinster House to €34,065 for those more than 360 km away.[14]
  • Public Representation Allowance – for maintaining a constituency office; €20,350 for backbench TDs, less for ministers.[14] 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.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ See e.g."Take Charge of Change" (in English and Irish). Dublin: Office of the President. 2012. pp. 3,7. 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. ^ Definition of Teachta Dála in English. "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 1 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Pronunciation for the plural suffix of Teachtaí is /-ti/
  4. ^ a b "Deputy to Dáil Éireann – Teachta Dála". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 3 September 2007. 
  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. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (1 February 2010). "TD salaries slashed by €17,000". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Salaries & Allowances". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Allowances for additional responsibilities payable to Members of Dáil Éireann". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "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 6 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Murphy, Cormac (21 January 2009). "Lavish expenses for Oireachtas face overhaul". Evening Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009". Irish Statute Book. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c "Parliamentary Standard Allowance (PSA) – Travel and Accommodation and Public Representation Allowances". Oirachtas. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Kelly, Fiach (6 December 2012). "Finally, TDs must provide receipts but no full reform". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 June 2013.