Over half of TDs who responded to a survey by an RTÉ radio programme claimed they had received a death threat, while several female TDs said that they had been threatened with rape.

The survey, by RTÉ's Today with Sean O’Rourke, polled sitting TDs on a range of questions relating to their experiences of serious threats made against them.

54% of sitting TDs responded to the survey - 71% male and 29% female.

Of those surveyed, 52% said they had received a death threat, and nearly seven out of ten TDs had received a threat of physical violence against them.

Of those who had received a death threat, 25% said the threats on their lives were delivered in person.

The total percentage of TDs who said they had received some kind of threat of physical violence or on their life was 72%.

37% of TDs said a family member had received threatening or abusive messages.

Several female TDs said they had been threatened with rape, while one TD said he had a mass card sent to his house with his name on it.

Another said he had made significant home security investments, and added that he was not alone in doing so.

One TD told how he was threatened with a shotgun while canvassing, while another said a female staff member was on her own in the office when someone threatened to burn it down with her inside.

One of the respondents said he had his car’s tyres slashed and had never spoken about it before.

Another of the TDs said he would not leave any member of staff alone in the office anymore, after several incidents, including having to call gardaí.

A female TD said protests took place outside her house, but she has not highlighted this incident publicly.

The survey was carried out in light of recent events, including the targeting of TD Martin Kenny's car in October, as well as the number of women leaving British politics ahead of the UK’s general election.

Read more: Abuse, threats lead to women quitting UK politics

In 2016, British MP Jo Cox was murdered during the Brexit referendum campaign. There are more than 20 female politicians who have said they will not run in next month's UK election. Many have cited a rise in death threats, threats of rape, and racist abuse.

For the RTÉ survey, all sitting TDs were asked the same series of questions. The 54% who responded came from a range of parties.

Some of the TDs who responded said they found it hard to get gardaí to take threats seriously, as they felt TDs are seen as 'fair game’.

Many of the politicians did not wish to comment publicly on the abuse. However Labour TD Alan Kelly said that threats to him, his family and the people who work with him were "so standard and common" during his time as a minister that "in a disgraceful way it became normal".

"Even now, as a TD in opposition, there’s a level of abuse that still continues. The threshold by which politicians are meant to put up with such abuse and threats by some in Irish society is unacceptable," he said.

"Social media has now added a dimension to this which at times can be frightening."