Not enough Independents left for technical group?

With talks between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party continuing, and a Green Party conference on Sunday acting as a deadline, the Irish Times raises the possibility that smaller parties and independents left outside the tent would fail to reach the required number to form a technical group in the Dáil.[subs req] And that would leave Sinn Féin with an unfortunate legacy from that poor election performance..It’s a scenario that’s dependent on who’s in and who’s out of any coalition [subs again]

Sinn Féin’s four TDs and Independents Tony Gregory and Finian McGrath would be one short of the seven TDs they need to form a “technical group” which entitles them to extensive speaking and debating rights in the Dáil.

Talks are currently taking place on the formation of a government that would comprise Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats, and Independent TDs Beverley Flynn, Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry.

Mr Gregory said yesterday that such a situation “virtually prevents us having any speaking rights at all other than in an adjournment debate”.

Without a technical group they would also not be able to speak during leaders’ questions, which would be confined to the Fine Gael and Labour leaders, he said. In the last Dáil, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins spoke on behalf of the Independents during those questions.

Mr Gregory said the TDs would not be allowed attend whips’ meetings when the government and opposition parties discuss the proposed order of business, and could not ask priority questions during ministers’ question time.

And it’s worth pointing out that other coalition partners may be more likely

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  • From what I was told, during the 29th Dáil Fianna Fáil kept in touch with its “gene pool” independents and helped them out here and there despite not needing them for a coalition… that’s why they were so cocky when the PDs threatened to walk in November – they knew they had a few sweetened Independents to prop them up for the remaining few months and the PDs weren’t needed for such a short term.

    I sincerely doubt that a FF/Green/PD/Ind coalition will happen, at most it’ll be FF/Green/PD. The Independents will be kept sweet, but they won’t be part of a formal coalition deal (because that would require more junior ministries being handed out and Green/PD will be taking more than some FFers would like as it is).

    The only reason FF are continuing to negotiate with all Independents and the Greens is because they need to keep their options open – everyone knows just how much compromise is needed for FF and Greens to agree terms and the last thing they want is for those negotiations to collapse leaving the party with nothing else as an alternative.

    There will be 7+ TDs available to form a technical group, probably a mixture of Independents and Sinn Féin.

  • Has anyone heard the word from within the Green camp, are they talking about entering a coalition and if so any mention of what the bribe may be?

  • Dewi
  • CTN

    There was so much invective between John Gormley and McDowell in Ranelagh I think it’s still featured on a you tube blog here on Slug.

    Hard to imagine it all going sweetly between the Greens and PD’s in Government- it certainly would have been an impossible scenario if the Mac had have been re-elected.

  • Crataegus

    Perhaps it will be FF + Green Gov with a few indos

    SF PD’s and 1 Independent gives the magic 7 for a technical working group. The irony of it!

  • CTN

    They’ll draw the line at the Doc Crat but their arch ethnic enemies the PD’s – Never, Never, Never, Never!

    It seems to be all about irony these days..

  • prolefodder

    The Greens, if they’re smart will make not having the PDs as one (of many) conditions for a FF/Green coalition – can’t see the Greens and the PDs (all two of them) around the table somehow. This, rather than Shannon airport being used by the US Military, might be more of a deal-breaker for them – and its not at all certain that whatever deal is worked out today will get the 2/3 support necessary at the special convention to be held by Green Party members on Sunday. FF want ‘stable government’ for the next 5 years, the Greens want some credible policy changes that demonstrate they can be a party of power as well as protest…therein lies the room for negotiation (or not)…

  • curious

    Why do USAF need Shannon airport, could they not fly their aircreft on to an RAF base in England, before refueling and proceeding on to the middle east?

  • Dublin voter

    Why do USAF need Shannon airport, could they not fly their aircreft on to an RAF base in England, before refueling and proceeding on to the middle east?

    Simple really. Shannon is cheaper.