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Parliamentary Debates

Official Report


The Debates Office is responsible for publication of the Official Report, the authoritative record of proceedings of the Houses of the Oireachtas and parliamentary committees. The Official Report constitutes a full and accurate record of all parliamentary proceedings. Though not strictly verbatim, it is substantially a verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but it omits nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument. Members who wish to suggest any corrections to the Official Report may submit them to the Editor within 14 days. These may be accepted at the Editor's discretion, but changes which would alter the substance of the debate are not accepted.

Staff of the Debates Office are conscious of the importance of their work in compiling the record of parliamentary proceedings and take pride in the independent and professional service offered to Members and others within the public service, the media, professional bodies, interest groups and the wider public. The current staff are graduates in a wide range of disciplines and many have postgraduate degrees. They are required to have excellent language skills and a sound knowledge of public affairs, both national and international. Their job is demanding, requiring great attention to detail and an ability to work long hours during busy periods in the parliamentary calendar.

The debates of both Dáil and Seanad are available to the general public the following day on the Oireachtas website. Since becoming available on the Internet, the readership of the Official Report has greatly increased. The office regularly receives correspondence from people all over the world who have accessed the debates on the Oireachtas website. The volume of correspondence has grown significantly since the launch on the website of the historical project, the debates of both Houses of the Oireachtas since 1919. This provides an invaluable source of information on the issues and attitudes of the political establishment since the first Dáil.

Dr. Anne Robinson
Editor of Debates
11 May 2004

Procedural Division (Houses Services Directorate)