Members of Dáil Eireann are elected by a general election. A TD (Teachta Dála) can be a member of a Government party, the Opposition or may sit as an independent TD. A TD represents everyone who is entitled to vote within his or her constituency. A list of TDs, grouped alphabetically with their postal addresses is available here.
A TD's work at Dáil Eireann involves meeting in plenary session on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. A typical day's work includes researching and preparing speeches for debates on social, economic, financial and budgetary issues. Debates in the Dáil are chaired by the Ceann Comhairle. View the official reports of all parliamentary debates in Ireland from 1919-2006 here.
TDs may also draft amendments to and examine proposals for new legislation. TDs contribute to debates about new legislation and other important matters, they vote on issues in the House, they attend Question Time, they participate in Committee work and they make written or oral representations to ministers or government departments on behalf of their constituencies.
There is a Committee system at Dáil Eireann. Specialist Committees advise the Dáil on a broad range of legislative, social, economic and financial business. Committees also examine Government expenditure. Joint Committees are committees from both Dáil Eireann and the Seanad sitting and voting together. A TD will often be a member of more than one Committee. View a list and membership of all parliamentary committees here.
As well as work at the Dáil and on Committees, TDs work within their own constituencies. They hold regular advice clinics throughout their constituencies so that voters can meet them personally. Often they provide assistance to constituents with a family/personal problem relating to a government department.
If a TD breaches the rules of procedure or the "Standing Orders" at the Dáil, he or she may be disciplined. In February 2002, the members of the Dáil adopted a Code of Conduct to ensure that their actions and decisions are taken in the best interests of the public. Read the terms of this Code of Conduct here.
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.