The early years
Since 1922, the Official Report produced by the Debates Office has been the work of parliamentary reporters, editors, administrative staff and, in earlier times, audio typists who took dictation from the reporters.
In 1922, Michael Knightly, a newspaper reporter, veteran of 1916 and an official of Dáil Éireann who had reported the Treaty debates, was asked by the Clerk of the Dáil, Colm Ó Murchadha, to recruit the staff who would produce the Official Report of the Dáil. Recruitment was informal and initially a team of eight reporters, all male, was assembled. Mr. Knightly himself was appointed the first Editor of Debates. All the reporters recruited had been newspaper journalists, two of whom, William J. Flynn and Martin Cleere, had experience of working in the House of Commons. Flynn had assisted in recording the Treaty debates and joined the official staff when the office was established in 1922. He also compiled a number of annual parliamentary companions called the Irish Parliamentary Handbook between 1932 and 1945.
After the Civil War ended, the office was put on a permanent footing and, in 1924, a report of the Dáil Standing Committee on Oireachtas Staff noted that in addition to the Editor of Debates and an assistant editor, 12 reporters were employed to cover the debates of the Dáil, Seanad and occasional Oireachtas committees.