THE DAIL'S Technical Group has been rocked by an unprecedented bust-up involving two of its most outspoken TDs.
Luke 'Ming' Flanagan was dubbed a hypocrite by Dublin TD Finian McGrath as the pair rowed over the leadership.
"Things got to a new level of nastiness. There was almost fisticuffs, it was that bad," said a source at the meeting.
There had been tensions among the Independent TDs for several weeks after \Mr Flanagan and his ally, Mick Wallace, demanded that the leadership go to one of them.
The position, currently shared between two members of the group, is sought after as the leader can challenge the Taoiseach at Leaders' Questions.
Dublin South TD Shane Ross proposed the leadership remain in the hands of John Halligan and Mattie McGrath when the group met on Wednesday.
The proposal was backed by Finian McGrath and Stephen Donnelly, but provoked a furious reaction from Mr Flanagan. The Roscommon TD claimed that it was his turn to take over, but was rebuked by Mr McGrath.
The Herald understands that both men engaged in a shouting match, with Mr Flanagan being dubbed a hypocrite. It's understood that Mr McGrath made the charge over the revelation that Mr Flanagan had penalty points wiped from his driving licence, despite being part of a campaign against the practice.
Sources in the Technical Group say a breakaway is now on the cards.