Sinn Féin and two Independent TDs have agreed to form a technical group in the Dáil.

The party's five TDs joined forces with Finian McGrath and Maureen O'Sullivan to secure more speaking time in the House.

This is a technical arrangement rather than a political alliance, but will allow the group recognition under Dáil Standing Orders so the members get more speaking time.

They can also put a question to the Taoiseach twice a week during Leaders' Questions.

In a joint statement the seven TDs said: 'We have held a series of positive and constructive meetings over the past two weeks and have reached agreement on the logistics of the new Technical Group.

'We emphasise that the Sinn Féin party and each of the two non-party Deputies will maintain their respective independence and separate identity in terms of policy and voting in Dáil divisions.'