Tithe an Oireachtais/Houses of the Oireachtas
What is the Official Report?
The Official Report of the Houses of the Oireachtas is the written record of everything that is said in public sittings of Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann and their parliamentary committees. It includes debates, statements, answers to oral questions, votes and evidence given in committee meetings.
The Official Report also contains written answers provided by Ministers to parliamentary questions tabled by Dáil Deputies. The Official Report is available to everyone to read for free on the website of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Who produces the Official Report?
Since its establishment in 1922, the Debates Office has been responsible for producing the Official Report. The Debates Office team, led by the Editor of Debates and Chief Reporter and three deputy editors, is made up of reporters, assistant editors and administrative staff, all of whom are employees of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service. This independent team ensures the Official Report is unbiased and trustworthy.
The Debates Office publishes the online version of the Official Report very shortly after the debates take place. Later on, the daily debates of the Dáil and Seanad are revised by the team and are published together in printed volumes as the revised Official Report.
What is the Official Report for?
In a democracy, it is important that citizens can access what is said by the people who have been elected to represent them. The Official Report, which records what elected Members have said and how they voted, helps to make them accountable to the citizens by allowing them to judge Members on their words, their policies and their decision-making.
When Oireachtas Members hold the Government to account, scrutinise legislation or consider policy matters, the Official Report helps them to review what was said by Ministers, other Deputies and Senators and by witnesses who gave evidence to committees. In addition, the Official Report can help judges to resolve disputes over the meaning of legislation by reading what Ministers said about their intentions.
Finally, over the years, the volumes of the Official Report have built up into a valuable historical archive, available to all, that covers the vast range of topics Members have discussed and reflects the changing concerns of the Irish people.