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Technical Group gets legal advice
24 Oct 2014 15:03
It has emerged that legal advice to the Technical Group regarding the admittance of two former Fine Gael TDs has found that membership can only be by agreement of the group.
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There were dramatic scenes in the Dáil this week when three Independent TDs were suspended from the chamber for challenging Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett on his decision to allow Lucinda Creighton and Peter Mathews speaking time in the Technical Group.
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Having lost the Fine Gael party whip, both Ms Creighton and Mr Mathews requested to join the Technical Group, which consists of Independent TDs and smaller parties.
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Mr Barrett issued letters on Wednesday morning, saying he would, at his discretion, call on members of the Reform Alliance to speak in time allocated to the Technical Group.
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It led to dramatic scenes in the chamber with the suspension of Catherine Murphy, John Halligan and Thomas Pringle and, eventually, the suspension of the Dáil.
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The Technical Group sought legal advice regarding Ms Creighton's and Mr Mathews' qualification for membership.
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It said that if the group does not agree to an unaligned TD joining it, according to Standing Orders, that TD is not permitted to join the group.
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It also said there appears to be "invidious discrimination" that forcing the group to associate on an involuntary basis is at variance with the right to associate freely under the Constitution.
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