The group of eight Fine Gael TDs and Senators who have lost the party whip are to decide their political strategy before the return of the Dáil and Seanad.

At an initial meeting today, attended by six of the group, they decided to hold a strategy meeting in two to three weeks' time.

A spokesman for the group, Senator Paul Bradford, said they wanted to exercise a meaningful role in promoting positive ideas.

Mr Bradford said they will consider a comprehensive approach to issues at their next meeting when all members are present.

He said they hoped to get speaking rights in both houses in the context of the Government's promise of further political reforms.

TDs Lucinda Creighton, Peter Mathews, Terence Flanagan, Brian Walsh and Billy Timmins, as well as Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, lost the whip over their stance on the abortion legislation.

TD Denis Naughten, who lost the whip over the Roscommon County Hospital issue, is also part of the group.

Mr Naughten was removed from the Oireachtas Health Committee after he also voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.