Act: A law (primary legislation) that has been passed by the Oireachtas.
Bill: The text of proposed legislation presented to the Oireachtas for consideration and approval.
Budget: The annual documents presenting the government's proposed revenues and spending for the following financial year.
Cabinet: Ministers chosen by the Taoiseach and collectively responsible for government policy. Under the Constitution, the Government must consist of not less than seven and not more than fifteen members.
Constitution of Ireland: Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Constitution of Ireland, is the country's basic law. It came into operation on 29 December 1937. Since 25 June 1941 the Constitution may only be amended by referendum.
Dáil Éireann: The lower House of the Oireachtas, known as the Dáil for short, consisting of 166 directly-elected Teachta Dala (TDs).
Deputy: The short name for a Teachta Dála (TD), someone elected to Dáil Eireann to represent their consitutuency.
Documents laid: Documents that are officially presented to the Houses of the Oireachtas for the information of TDs and Senators. These are generally laid by government departments, or statutory bodies (under legal obligation), but can also include documents that may be of interest for other reasons.
Government: The executive, consisting of the Taoiseach and up to 14 Ministers. Collective meetings of the Government are called cabinet meetings.
Green Paper: A consultation document produced generally when a government department is considering the need for a new law or policy and seeks formal feedback on the proposal. See White Paper.
Interest groups: A group of people or an organisation that campaigns and takes action about a cause or interest.
Legislation: Comprises primary legislation, laws enacted by the Dáil and Seanad and signed by the President, and secondary legislation made under the authority of an Act.
Lobbying: The act of communicating with civil servants, officials, Ministers and public representatives to seek to change policies or laws.
Oireachtas: Ireland's national parliament or legislature. It consists of the President of Ireland and two Houses, Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann.
Opposition: The Opposition are the political parties other than the government party/parties. They are called the Opposition because they sit on the benches opposite the Government in the the lower chamber of the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Dáil. The role of the Official Opposition is to question and scrutinise the work of government.
Parliamentary question (PQ): A question by a TD to a Minister or the Taoiseach. The question (and reply) can take the form of a written question or a question asked directly of the Taoiseach/Minister in the Chamber of the Dáil.
President of Ireland: Directly-elected head of State. Performs a limited number of functions after consultation with an advisory Council of State. Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament require his/her signature for their enactment into law.The President is elected for a term of seven years and may not serve more than two terms.
Programme for Government: A government's work programme for its term in office.
Public body/authority: Organisations and agencies that are directly or indirectly controlled by Government, and/or mainly financed by Government. See this list compiled by the Central Statitstics Office.
Public interest: The well-being of society as a whole, to be taken into account when implementing laws or deciding policies.
Public servant: A person who works with the civil service, a local authority or other state body.
Seanad Éireann: The upper House of the Oireachtas, known as the Seanad for short, which currently has 60 members known as Senators. Unlike TDs, Senators are not directly elected but consist of a mixture of members chosen by various methods.
Senator: A member of the Seanad or upper House of the Oireactas.
Statutory Instrument: A form of delegated or 'secondary' legislation which may be required to commence Acts or parts of Acts or implement EU regulations. There are five types: orders, regulations, rules, by-laws and schemes.
TD: Teachta Dála, a member of the Dáil. There are 166 TDs at present.
Whip: A TD or Senator appointed by each party to maintain party discipline and to encourage members of their party to vote in a particular way in the Oireachtas.