Technical group

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In politics, a technical group is a heterogenous parliamentary group composed of elected officials from political parties of differing ideologies (or independent of any party) who are not numerous enough to form groups on their own. They are formed for technical reasons so that members enjoy rights or benefits that would remain unavailable to them outside a formally recognised parliamentary group.


In Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish national parliament, the Oireachtas), prior to 2016, only parliamentary groups with seven members or more had full speaking rights under the house's standing orders. This meant that smaller parties and independent politicians would be unable to speak as often as parties with enough deputies to form their own groups. Prior to 1997, a technical group automatically came into being if there were seven or more independent TDs.[1] Since 1997, a group of TDs must agree to form a group. Under standing orders, only one technical group could exist at any time,[2] with at least seven members and comprising a majority of deputies who are not members of another group in Dáil Éireann.[3]

In the wake of the 2016 Irish general election, which saw a significant increase in the number of TDs elected as independents or from small parties in the 32nd Dáil, the Dáil standing orders were extensively revised to reduce the minimum number for formation of a parliamentary group from seven TDs to five, and to allow multiple technical groups to exist in parallel.

Recent examples of technical groups include:

European Parliament[edit]

Political groups of the European Parliament are required by that parliament's standing orders to have a coherent "complexion" of political principles. Despite this rule, a "Technical Group of Independents" comprising members from dissimilar political ideologies has been formed on two occasions: from 1979 until 1984 and between 1999 and 2001. Such was the mixed nature of the latter group that it drew the disapproval of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which attempted to disband the group within months of its creation; after legal appeals, the disbandment was finally confirmed by a ruling of the European Court of Justice, making it unlikely that technical groups will reappear within the European Parliament in the future.


  1. ^ Harry McGee (2012-09-20). "Technical group moves over Wallace". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  2. ^ a b Collins, Stephen (2011-03-08). "Independents agree grouping". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Dáil Éireann - Standing Orders relative to Public Business
  4. ^ Collins, Stephen (10 December 2010). "SF forms Dáil Technical Group". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  5. ^ Brennan, Michael (2011-03-09). "Independents join forces to question Kenny". National News. Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  6. ^ "Social Democrats and Green Party form Dáil technical group". National News. UTV Ireland. 2016-05-30. Archived from the original on 2016-10-21. Retrieved 2016-05-30. 
  7. ^ Bardon, Sarah (1 June 2016). "Ministers told they must seek permission to miss Dáil votes over 'delicate voting situation'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 June 2016.