TDs spend most time in constituencies


TDs say they spend more than half of their working time on constituency-based work and less than 40 per cent on legislative work, according to a survey of Oireachtas members.

Almost 100 of the 222 Oireachtas members contacted responded to the survey carried out by the committee on the constitution, which is chaired by Fianna Fáil deputy Sean Ardagh.

Mr Ardagh said TDs typically saw their role as being primarily constituency representatives and they rated constituency-based activities as more important than legislative work.

“For every hour the average TD spends on legislative work, an hour and twenty-five minutes is spent on constituency-based work,” he said.

The survey found support among deputies and senators for retaining the current electoral system has dropped from 73 per cent in 1999 to 57 per cent today.

In the event of the current system, proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote in multi-seat constituencies (PR-STV), being replaced, the preferred option was a ‘mixed system’.

This would combine single-member districts with a list vote.

Meanwhile, the survey found female TDs engaged in slightly higher levels of constituency work than males.

TDs who had lost to fellow party members engaged in higher levels of constituency work than those who had not.

Deputies living longer distances from Dublin reported more work in their constituencies. The survey noted that as work practices were self-reported they could not be validated.