Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which deputies (TDs) may ask questions of members of the Government relating to public affairs connected with their departments or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible.
The questions are referred to as parliamentary questions or PQs.
The Taoiseach answers questions on Tuesdays in respect of matters relating to the administration of his own department.
Other members of the Government reply to questions on an agreed rota basis. The rota repeats itself every 5 weeks or so, giving the opportunity to Deputies to question each minister on a regular basis.
Currently, the Minister for Health sends questions referring to the executive function of the health service to the HSE for reply.
TDs are limited to asking each minister 2 oral questions. Every day, 5 oral questions are given priority. The priority questions are shared between the parties according to party strength.
As well as oral questions in question time, TDs can submit written questions seeking a written answer. There is no limit to the amount of written questions that a TD can ask the Government.
The member of the Government must be given 3 days' notice for priority oral questions and 4 days' notice for other questions. Sometimes a very urgent matter of public importance will suddenly arise. The Ceann Comhairle may accept questions about an urgent issue at very short notice. These questions are called "private notice" questions and are taken at the end of question time.
The Oireachtas publishes the replies to parliamentary questions daily as part of the Dáil Debates.
Dáil debates are published incrementally throughout a sitting day. All proceedings before 7pm are published before midnight, the remainder being added the following day.
Seanad debates are published incrementally on a same day or next day basis.
Replies to questions tabled by members for written response by ministers are published at the end of each day's Dáil proceedings.
The Official Report of each committee meeting is published within a week at latest, but generally within 2 to 3 working days.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.