Independents seek more funding for technical group

Reform Alliance deputies say they are fully entitled to join group

The technical group of Independent TDs has written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton claiming it will be “practically impossible” to accommodate extra members unless it is allocated more funding.

Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton met yesterday with the technical group's whip, Catherine Murphy, and Independent Waterford Deputy John Halligan to discuss joining the loose grouping of non-party TDs.

It is understood the entire technical group will meet next week to discuss the Reform Alliance’s move, having previously argued against it.

However, Ms Creighton and her fellow Reform Alliance Deputies believe they are fully entitled to join the group, and Ms Murphy acknowledged this in her letter to Mr Kenny and Ms Burton. “The recent change to the eligibility criteria for membership of the Dáil technical group, which apparently followed advice from the parliamentary legal adviser, means that members who leave the political party they were elected for at the preceding general election or subsequent byelection are now free to join the Dáil technical group, despite their party status at the preceding general election,” she wrote.



At the meeting yesterday, Mr Halligan and Ms Murphy told Ms Creighton all members of the technical group contribute to the cost of hiring one full-time and one part-time member of staff.

The Reform Alliance TDs are not in receipt of the €40,000 leader's allowance available to Independent Deputies, and Fine Gael retains the State allowance for TDs who have lost the party whip.

However, in her letter, Ms Murphy said this should be given to the Reform Alliance TDs and the technical group should be given more resources.


“I am seeking that these funds are either returned to the exchequer or provided to the newly unaligned members; that administrative staff resources are provided to the technical group who are required to operate under the same rules as a political party in terms of Dáil business such as tabling business on the order paper, making changes to committee memberships, co-operating in relation to the management of speaking time etc,” she said.

“Currently the Dáil technical group members fund the employment of one person. I regret to say that any expansion of the group without the provision of staff will make the administration of the group practically impossible.”