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Fitzpatrick part of new technical group of nine TDs formed in the Dáil

Fitzpatrick part of new technical group of nine TDs formed in the Dáil
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Local TD Peter Fitzpatrick is part of a new technical group of nine TDs which has been formed in Dáil Éireann.

Given their numbers the new group could play a crucial role in the upcoming negotiations regarding the formation of a new Government.

Deputy Fitzpatrick retained the seat he has held since 2011 in the General Election earlier this month but this was his first time being elected as an independent following his decision to quit Fine Gael in October 2018.

The new group also comprises Cathal Berry, Sean Canney, Noel Grealish, Verona Murphy, Matt Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Peadar Toibin, and Denis Naughten, fresh from his defeat in the Ceann Comhairle ballot, as convener.

The new grouping, which passes the threshold to attain speaking rights of five by a distance, had been expected.

The voting intentions of the nine deputies do not at this juncture appear to be in any way guaranteed, with Sean Canney, once of the Independent Alliance, casting a vote for both Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar for Taoiseach for example.

Explaining the new grouping, Aontu’s Peadar Toibin said: “It’s a technical grouping in the truest sense, given that people with different political opinions are coming together to avail of the facilities in the Dail such as leaders’ and ministers’ questions, and being able to represent properly on committees.”

He said that the group negotiating en masse for a programme for Government is unlikely, however.

“There may be individuals or subsets who negotiate, but the actual group as it exists is independent in nature,” Mr Toibin said.