That, in accordance with the recommendation of the sub-Committee on Dáil Reform under Standing Order 107(1)(a), the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business be amended by the adoption of the following new Standing Orders in substitution for Standing Order 143:
143. (1) A group is a body of members in Opposition who may avail of the rights provided for in these Standing Orders for groups.
(2) The minimum number of members required to be recognised as a group is five.
(3) Where members of a registered political party are elected to the Dáil, those elected members are referred to in these Standing Orders as a "party", and such a party is automatically recognised as a group where it has five members or more.
(4) A body of members which includes any combination of the following categories of members
(a) members of a party with five members or more,
(b) members of a party with fewer than five members,
(c) non-party members,
may also be recognised as a group, and shall be referred to as a technical group.
(5) A group may not include
(i) a party which contains a Minister or Minister of State;
(ii) a member who is a Minister or Minister of State;
(iii) some of the members of a party but not the others.
(6) A member of a technical group may not also be a member of another technical group.
(7) There is no limit on the number of groups which may be recognised in a Dáil.
Rights of groups: members may not benefit “on the double”
143A. (1) Groups have the rights assigned to them in these Standing Orders in relation to
(i) Leaders’ Questions,
(ii) Questions nominated for priority,
(iii) private members' business,
(iv) the opening speeches on the motion for the second reading of a Bill,
(v) the right to make a brief statement opposing a proposal on the Order of Business, and
(vi) such other rights as may be provided for groups in these Standing Orders.
(2) A party which is automatically recognised as a group, and which has joined with other members to form a technical group, may only avail of those rights arising from its membership of a technical group.
Recognition of groups: writing to the Ceann Comhairle
143B. (1) A party with five members or more is automatically recognised as a group, and need not write to the Ceann Comhairle for recognition.
(2) Members who seek to be recognised as a technical group shall send a request in writing to the Ceann Comhairle, signed by each of the members making the request.
Joining a group
143C. The addition of a member to a technical group is recognised where the coordinator of the technical group and the new member sign a notification in writing to
the Ceann Comhairle to that effect.
Cessation of membership of a group
143D. (1) A member ceases to be a member of a group where the Ceann Comhairle is satisfied that the member has severed all connections with the group.
(2) Where a member leaves a party and joins another, he or she is considered part of his or her new political party for group purposes, provided that his or her membership is in compliance with the rules contained in these Standing Orders relating to membership of groups.
Cessation of group status
143E. (1) A technical group shall cease to be recognised as a group where any and all of the remaining members of the group sign a notification in writing to the Ceann Comhairle to that effect.
(2) Any group (including a technical group) ceases to be recognised as a group where the Ceann Comhairle is satisfied that its number has fallen below five. In such a case, the Ceann Comhairle shall write to the group to that effect.
(3) Where the number of a former group (including a technical group) has fallen below five as a result of a casual vacancy or vacancies in the Dáil, the former group shall not lose its rights until the result of any consequential bye-election is known.
(4) Where a former group wishes to be recognised again as a group, all of its former members shall sign a notification in writing to the Ceann Comhairle. Provided that where group status was lost as a result of a casual vacancy, the written notification need only be sent to the Ceann Comhairle in the case of a technical group. Where the former group consists only of a single party, and the new member is elected to that party, it is not necessary to send the written notification. Provided always and in any case that a group shall not be recognised where its membership is not in compliance with the rules set out in these Standing Orders relating to the membership of groups.
Presentation of Bills and moving of motions by members of groups
143F. (1) Each group shall have the right to nominate a member of the group to present a Bill provided that there is not before the Dáil another Bill presented by a member nominated by the group.
(2) Each group shall have the right in rotation to nominate a member of the group either to move a motion standing in his or her name or to proceed with a Stage of a Bill in the Dáil.
(3) The order in which the right under paragraph (2) may be exercised by the various groups shall be determined on the basis of the numbers of members in the groups, a larger group having precedence over a smaller one. In the case of an equality of numbers, precedence shall be determined by lot. Provided that a group which consists only of a single party shall have precedence over a technical group.'."