In politics, a technical group or mixed group is a heterogenous
parliamentary group composed of elected officials from political
parties of differing ideologies (or independent of any party) who are
not numerous enough to form groups on their own. They are formed for
technical reasons so that members enjoy rights or benefits that would
remain unavailable to them outside a formally recognised parliamentary
Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish national parliament,
the Oireachtas), prior to 2016, only parliamentary groups with seven
members or more had full speaking rights under the house's standing
orders. This meant that smaller parties and independent politicians
would be unable to speak as often as parties with enough deputies to
form their own groups. Prior to 1997, a technical group automatically
came into being if there were seven or more independent TDs. Since
1997, a group of TDs must agree to form a group. Under standing
orders, only one technical group could exist at any time, with at
least seven members and comprising a majority of deputies who are not
members of another group in Dáil Éireann.
In the wake of the 2016 Irish general election, which saw a
significant increase in the number of TDs elected as independents or
from small parties in the 32nd Dáil, the Dáil standing orders were
extensively revised to reduce the minimum number for formation of a
parliamentary group from seven TDs to five, and to allow multiple
technical groups to exist in parallel.
Recent examples of technical groups include:
27th Dáil: a group of nine deputies formed in 1992.
29th Dáil: a loose federation of 22 opposition deputies.
30th Dáil: a technical group was not created initially after the 2007
general election, because there were only five potential members –
Sinn Féin's four deputies and Tony Gregory. Most outgoing
independents from the
29th Dáil lost their seats,
Sinn Féin was
reduced to four, the six Green Party TDs became part of the government
and three out of the four remaining independents made
confidence-and-supply arrangements with the government. The election
Pearse Doherty of
Sinn Féin in a 2010 by-election allowed the
formation of a group of seven, comprising the five
Sinn Féin TDs and
the left-wing independents
Finian McGrath and Maureen O'Sullivan.
31st Dail: after the 2011 general election, 16 of the 19 independent
United Left Alliance TDs agreed to form a technical group.
Catherine Murphy was the group's whip, while Maureen O'Sullivan was
Finian McGrath resigned as chairman in October 2012
Mick Wallace rejoined the loose group, against the wishes of many
of its members. The independent TDs who chose not to join this
technical group were: Michael Healy-Rae,
Michael Lowry and Noel
32nd Dáil: the early months saw standing orders revised to allow
multiple technical groups to coexist. One group was formed between the
three elected members of the Social Democrats and the two elected
members of the Green Party. Another technical group was formed
around the four elected members of Independents 4 Change, together
with the non-party TDs Catherine Connolly, Thomas Pringle and Maureen
O'Sullivan. A third group called the Rural Independents Group was
also formed. It comprises 7 members.
Main article: Political groups of the European Parliament
Political groups of the European Parliament
Political groups of the European Parliament are required by that
parliament's standing orders to have a coherent "complexion" of
political principles. Despite this rule, a "Technical Group of
Independents" comprising members from dissimilar political ideologies
has been formed on two occasions: from 1979 until 1984 and between
1999 and 2001. Such was the mixed nature of the latter group that it
drew the disapproval of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which
attempted to disband the group within months of its creation; after
legal appeals, the disbandment was finally confirmed by a ruling of
the European Court of Justice, making it unlikely that technical
groups will reappear within the European Parliament in the future.
^ Harry McGee (2012-09-20). "
Technical group moves over Wallace". The
Irish Times. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
^ a b Collins, Stephen (2011-03-08). "Independents agree grouping".
The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
Dáil Éireann - Standing Orders relative to Public Business
^ Collins, Stephen (10 December 2010). "SF forms Dáil Technical
Group". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
^ Brennan, Michael (2011-03-09). "Independents join forces to question
Kenny". National News. Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
^ "Social Democrats and Green Party form Dáil technical group".
National News. UTV Ireland. 2016-05-30. Archived from the original on
2016-10-21. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
^ Bardon, Sarah (1 June 2016). "Ministers told they must seek
permission to miss Dáil votes over 'delicate voting situation'". The
Irish Times. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
Front benches in the Oireachtas
Fine Gael Front Bench
Fianna Fáil Front Bench
Sinn Féin Front Bench
Labour Party Front Bench
Green Party Front Bench