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Paschal Donohoe ‘conscious of circumstances’ of ministerial appointment

The Dublin TD said he was “humbled” by his new position as Minister of State for European Affairs.

Paschal Donohoe arrives at the Dail for the first sitting of the 31st Dail on 9 March 2011
Paschal Donohoe arrives at the Dail for the first sitting of the 31st Dail on 9 March 2011
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Updated 22:05

NEWLY-PROMOTED Fine Gael deputy Paschal Donohoe said earlier today that he is shocked and humbled by his appointment as Minister of State for European Affairs, replacing his colleague and friend Lucinda Creighton.

“This is all, obviously, a bit of a shock to me,” he said, hours after being hauled back to Leinster House for an early-morning meeting with the Taoiseach. On hearing the news from Enda Kenny, Donohoe said he called his wife, mother and brother.

Speaking to Today with Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio, the Dublin Central deputy said he was “conscious of the circumstances” of the promotion.

“I am very sorry to see Lucinda go,” he added. “She is a friend of mine and has made a huge contribution to this party.

“I didn’t imagine that as a consequence of the challenge she faced, I would find myself here now.”

Creighton lost the parliamentary party whip and resigned her position just after midnight following the final Dáil vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. She voted against the government on the proposed legislation.

Donohoe said his views differed from Creighton’s on the issue and even if there was no party whip, he would have voted for the legislation.

Donohoe and Creighon on election night in 2011. (Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

Donohoe agreed with his colleague Leo Varadkar who has said he would like to see the President refer the legislation to the Supreme Court.

Noting that he had to be “careful” in his comments given his new position, the 38-year-old cited precedent, explaining that Michael D Higgins had referred previous Bills to the court before signing them into law.

“One of the issues that infused the debate is the exact constitutionality of this bill,” he said, adding that he would welcome clarification from the Supreme Court so the matter is settled. However, he also recognised the right of other groups to challenge the law as is their privilege.

The Bill is now in the Seanad for debate before being sent to President Higgins.

First published 11:27

More: This is the moment the Dáil passed X Case legislation

Read: Taoiseach asked me to resign: Lucinda Creighton

Check out TheJournal.ie‘s coverage of the abortion debate>

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