On a sitting day TDs and Senators can raise matters for discussion to which a Minister will respond. In the Dáil these matters are called Topical Issues and in the Seanad they are called Commencement Matters.
TDs must give notice to the Ceann Comhairle of the issues they want to raise. The Ceann Comhairle then selects four issues for debate. In each case the TD concerned makes a four-minute initial statement and the Minister has a right to make a four-minute statement in reply. The TD then has two minutes for a supplementary statement and the Minister has two minutes for a concluding statement.
Senators must give notice to the Cathaoirleach of the issues they want to raise on a sitting day. The Cathaoirleach selects four matters and the Senator concerned may make a four-minute speech. In each case, the Minister has the right to make a four-minute speech in reply. The Senator then has one minute for a supplementary statement and the Minister has one minute for a concluding statement.