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