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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Screengrab/Luke Ming Flanagan Independent TD Denis Naughton
kicked out

Denis Naughten: 'It would have been common courtesy to inform me I was being expelled'

Independent TD Denis Naughten has been removed from the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

INDEPENDENT TD DENIS Naughten has been removed from the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children today on the grounds that he asked for a vote during the report stage of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in the Dail, he says.

Speaking to he said he first learned about his expulsion this morning “by chance” stating: “The first I knew about it was 8am this morning when I was in my office getting my post and I was going through the order of motions for the day and I saw my name.”

No clue

He said he had “no clue” there was to be a vote on his expulsion from the Committee on Health and Children, adding that none of his committee colleagues or the committee chairman knew either, as far as he was concerned.

It would have been common courtesy to inform me that I was going to be removed from the committee. I have sat on the committee for the last two years and there was plenty of time for them to tell me if they wanted a shake up of people.

“Once I learned that I was to be removed, I asked to address the committee at the beginning of the committee meeting today, but the chairperson would not allow it,” he said.

He said no reason was given for his removal from the committee. “The only reason I can think of is that I asked that TDs vote on my proposal that women who are suicidal and seeking an abortion be represented or have the right afforded to them that they can bring someone with them when they appear before a tribunal assessing if she can have a termination,” he said.

Legal right

“I believe that women should have that legal right to have someone present with them, if they so wish, and I wanted that included.  I thought it was unfair that any one that was ill or potentially dying could be forced to go before a tribunal without bringing someone with them, be it their husband, partner or family member,” he said.

He added that the Minister for Health James Reilly informed him that it would never be the case that a woman would be forced to go alone, but Naughten said he wanted to ensure that it was an “automatic legal right”.

He said that his committee colleagues were “shocked” at the manner in which he found out about his expulsion, stating that some TDs he had spoken to were equally dismayed.

“I was essentially removed from my job for doing my job of scrutinising legislation,” he said.  ”There is nothing more I can do now. The Dáil has voted on my removal this morning, the decision has been made”.

He added that he makes no apology for standing up for women.

Fine Gael whip

Naughten previously lost of Fine Gael whip in 2011 when he opposed the government on the closure of the emergency department at Roscommon Hospital.

A Fine Gael spokesperson confirmed to that Denis Naughten had been removed from the Committee on Health and Children, stating:

Fine Gael is re-organising a number of committees due to departure of four Fine Gael TDs. Denis Naughten lost the Fine Gael whip in 2011, but he made a request to stay on the committee, which we allowed, and he did stay on under Fine Gael representation.

When asked whether it would be unusual not to inform someone prior to their removal from a committee, the Fine Gael spokesperson said that the procedure for this type of reorganisation is that a “motion is circulated the morning of or evening before Dáil business.  That is how people are notified by the Houses of the Oireachtas”.

Fine Gael confirmed that Deputy Dan Neville would be Denis Naughten’s replacement on the committee.

Four Fine Gael rebels will lose committee memberships… and their offices>

Here are the 15 senators who opposed the abortion legislation>

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