LUCINDA CREIGHTON, THE junior minister who voted against the Government in the abortion bill, has said that she was asked by the Taoiseach to resign and she did so – because she didn’t want to “drag it out”.
Creighton, who has been Minister for European Affairs since the Government came to power in March 2011, lost the Fine Gael party whip immediately after voting against the Government in an amendment on the Bill. In the early hours of this morning, she also voted against the entirety of the Bill.
Speaking via video link from Leinster House to TV3′s Tonight With Vincent Browne, Creighton said that she gave her letter of resignation to the Taoiseach immediately after her vote, saying:
So, that’s the end of that.
When probed by Browne why she had done that, she said: “Quite frankly because I was asked to. I had already lost the whip of the party so the consequences were pretty apparent to me and I didn’t really want to drag it out.”
The Taoiseach asked me (for the resignation) this evening and I responded.
Creighton revealed that she had “respect” for Michelle Mulherin, the Fine Gael Mayo TD who told the Dáil yesterday that she would vote for the bill – against her instinct to vote against it- because she didn’t want to be “booted out” of the party. Creighton said Mulherin had spent hours in the Health sub-committee and speaking to Minister James Reilly about her concerns and had shown a “real commitment to the process”.
On her own reasons for voting against the legislation, Creighton said she had grave difficulty with the suicide clause and reiterated her demand for a “pathway of care” to be legislated for pregnant women with suicidal thoughts. She said she had discussed suicide ideation with a psychiatrist last week who told her about a woman who presented with suicidal thoughts at a hospital. The woman later had her baby, Creighton said, and came to the hospital to thank them “for not encouraging her” to travel for a termination or for providing one in the hospital.
But she admitted:
I think it’s extremely difficult and there are no simple answers with this..
If you believe there are two lives involved, you want to help anyone in that horrific position.
The live link to Creighton was lost just as Vincent Browne was asking about her future plans but said he thought Creighton was “quite impressive”.
Meanwhile, it emerged last night that FG Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohue is favourite to replace Creighton at her junior ministry post. Then at 1.55am, it was confirmed that Donohue would indeed be the new Minister of State for European Affairs. The Taoiseach thanked Creighton for her work over the past two and a half years in the same statement – he said he accepted “with regret” her resignation.