ALMOST three out of four Fine Gael TDs say they favour a loosening of the party whip, according to an internal opinion poll seen by the Irish Independent.
The poll, which was commissioned by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, claims that almost 80pc of Fine Gael TDs surveyed are in favour of greater speaking opportunities for backbenchers.
And over half of respondents stated that they want the Ceann Comhairle to be elected by secret ballot. Some 71pc said they wanted to see backbenchers being given the opportunity to partake in Leaders' Questions.
The survey, entitled "Continuing Our Reform Work - Dáil Éireann" - was carried out by Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy between November 25 and December 2.
Some 63pc of TDs surveyed responded.
According to the poll, 74pc of those surveyed said they favoured more efficiently organised Dail business, as well as some form of loosening of the party whip.
However, this particular finding was questioned last night by Fine Gael TD for Limerick Patrick O'Donovan.
He said that suggesting the whip should be loosened is a "lame excuse" for some of the shortcomings in the political system."What is the alternative solution? Where does one opt in or out of the whip system?" he asked.