Front bench (Ireland)

Technical group Sinn Féin Front Bench Fianna Fáil Front Bench

A front bench in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas of Ireland, refers to any organised group of party members who holds any degree of speaking power (derived from the party) on specific issues. This includes government ministers and party spokespersons.[1] The Teachtaí Dála (TDs) who are members of the Government of Ireland constitutes the "government front bench", while members of parties in declared opposition to the government constitute the "opposition front bench".[2] By comparison, members of a governing or opposition party, who are not ministers or spokespersons, are typically said to the represent the "back benches".[1][2]

Third parties (those who may not be in government or opposition) may only have power to speak or be recognised by the Ceann Comhairle if such parties number at least five TDs.[3] In order to attain the right to speak in session, parties and independents with fewer members can ally themselves into coalitions known as technical groups.[4]

Despite the frequent necessity for coalitions in front benches,[citation needed] each party retains its own front bench spokespersons analogous (but not exclusively analogous) to government departments.[citation needed]

List of front benches


  1. ^ a b "Glossary". oirachtas.ie. Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 29 August 2020. "Front bench [..] The seats where Government Ministers and party spokespersons sit
  2. ^ a b "Dáil Éireann". oirachtas.ie. Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 29 August 2020. Ministers and Ministers of State [..] are referred to as the Government Front Bench [..] The Opposition parties appoint spokespersons on the various Ministries, creating their own Front Benches and Back Benches
  3. ^ "Parties with five TDs to be awarded speaking rights in Dáil". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Independent TDs consider technical group options amid Government formation confusion". irishexaminer.com. Irish Examiner. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020. A technical grouping can be formed by a number of independents in order to reach the threshold to acquire speaking rights in the Dáil