CATHERINE MURPHY & THE TECHNICAL GROUP
THE TECHNICAL GROUP
Upon my re-election to the Dáil on 25th February 2011 I banded together with other Independent TDs and the members of the United Left Alliance to form a Technical Group. At 16 members, the Technical Group makes up a substantial 30.6% of opposition TDs.
The reason such a group is necessary is that if a TD is not a member of a recognised Dáil group the rules of the Dáil prevent them from contributing to debates and sitting on Oireachtas Committees.
For me, the biggest advantage of belonging to a Technical Group as opposed to a political party is that, although I can participate fully in Dáil business, I am not instructed on how to vote or what to say on any issue. This leaves me free to take my orders from the people of Kildare North.
HOW DOES THE GROUP WORK?
Technical Group TDs are only required to co-operate on the technical aspects of Dáil Business such as scheduling speaking time on debates and so on. That said we do our best to work together on any issue where there is common ground, like the issue of special needs cuts where we attended a family friendly protest as a group and introduced a group motion in the Dáil demanding that the cuts be reversed. You can read a list of Technical Group sponsored bill and motions here.
Knowing that we’re under no obligation to agree on policy issues and common platforms ensures that instead of focusing on matters we don’t agree on, we actively seek out areas that we can agree on. As a result, we have developed a very positive and cooperative atmosphere.
I was nominated as the Whip for the Technical Group in our first meeting in March of 2011 and have continued in the role since. Unlike a traditional Party Whip, I purely organise the Dáil Business of the Technical Group and do not instruct any TD on how to vote or what to say on any issue. I act as the Liaison between the group and the other Party Whips.
Independent TDs: Stephen Donnelly, Luke Ming Flanagan, Tom Fleming, John Halligan, Seamus Healy, Joe Higgins, Finian McGrath, Mattie McGrath, Maureen O’Sullivan, Thomas Pringle, Shane Ross, Mick Wallace.
United Left Alliance TDs: Richard Boyd-Barrett, Joan Collins, Clare Daly.