Parties with five TDs to be awarded speaking rights in Dáil

Move to lower threshold will benefit the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit

Parties with five TDs or more are to be given full parliamentary status and speaking time in the Dáil for the first time, a committee established to examine political reform has agreed. The decision to lower the threshold for a recognised party from seven to five will primarily benefit the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) group which has six TDs.

The change was agreed at a committee meeting in Leinster House yesterday. The proposal of the committee, chaired by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, will be put to all 158 TDs today as part of an interim report which will be presented to the House.

The all-party committee was formed after the 32nd Dáil was convened with a view to reforming parliamentary proceedings in light of the more complicated configuration of TDs that emerged from the general election.

Another change agreed by the committee was the introduction of an electronic button allowing a TD to abstain in a vote. Until now when electronic votes were taken members were given two options Tá or Níl. Now a third “abstain” button will be added.


Agreement has not yet been reached on whether permission will be given for more than one technical group of Independent and non-aligned TDs. It is understood the Fianna Fáil delegation raised some concerns in relation to this.


Those in attendance for yesterday’s meeting were Mr Ó Fearghaíl; Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Louise O’Reilly (Sinn Féin);

Thomas Byrne



O’Brien and Eamon Ó Cuív (Fianna Fáil);

Regina Doherty


Marcella Corcoran Kennedy


David Stanton

(Fine Gael);

Shane Ross

(Independent Alliance);

Eamon Ryan

(Green Party); Maureen O’Sullivan and

Thomas Pringle


Paul Murphy

(AAA-PBP); and

Brendan Howlin


It was also agreed that a business committee should be set up to decide the business of the house, to be chaired by the Ceann Comhairle. However, it would be up to the committee members to decide the business of the day.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times