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Laying of Documents before the Houses of the Oireachtas Frequently Asked Questions

1: What is meant by laying a document?
According to the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann (SO 176) and Seanad Éireann (SO 158) a document is deemed to have been laid upon the delivery of a copy of the document, which may be in an approved electronic format, to the parliamentary library for that purpose. This function was assigned to the library by the Clerks of both Houses Note: all documents laid before the Dáil or Seanad are considered public documents (see Standing Orders above)
2. What types of documents are laid before the Houses?
Documents are laid by departments or agencies to support the democratic process.They may be classified as follows:
  • Documents laid in obedience to a statute or in pursuance of an order of one or both Houses of the Oireachtas
  • Documents which are regarded for other reasons as necessary or of advantage to Members of the Dáil/Seanad in connection with the discharge of their duties as Members.
3: How do you lay documents before the Houses?
In 2012 the parliamentary library implemented an electronic system for the laying of documents. This is the primary means by which documents are laid and replaces the earlier procedures requiring multiple print copies and the completion of a print form.
Departments or agencies must be registered to access the service and will be provided with the most up to date procedures. Please contact the L&RS support/docs laid team at the docslaid@oireachtas.ie or 01 618 4706/4707/4708/4823
Please Note: documents to be laid before the Houses must not be published until after they have been laid.
4: Who do I contact with questions about laying documents?
Queries should be addressed to a member of the L&RS support team at docslaid@oireachtas.ie or 01 618 4706/4707/4708/4823
5: What happens to documents when they are laid?
The supplied information is checked and if there are any omissions/errors the relevant Department is notified.
The title of each document is listed, on the next Order Paper to be published (subject to a 2pm cut off time). In this way they are brought to the attention of Members of the Oireachtas.

Where a department urgently needs to lay a document after 5:30pm on a late night sitting of the Houses and requires the title of that document to appear on the next day’s Order Paper, they should contact the staff on duty in Reading Room. The number is (01) 6184701.
6: Can documents be laid when there is not a statutory requirement to do so?
It is the department or agency’s responsibility to detail the requirements behind the laying of the document, be they statutory or of particular interest or importance to members. This is detailed in the online form.
7: Can documents be laid during dissolution of the Dáil prior to a General Election?
Yes. The advice given by the Clerk of the Dáil during the dissolution of the Dáil in 1965 was that “Documents continue to be accepted for laying during dissolution. Reasons include a) Seanad is not dissolved, b) the Oireachtas is a continuing body.”
The titles for all documents laid during dissolution will appear on the first Order Paper published after a general election.

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