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Fitzpatrick was on opposite sides to party colleague Kate O'Connell in the Eighth debate. Eamonn Farrell/

Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick resigns from party

The Louth TD campaigned for the Eighth Amendment to be retained in recent times.

FINE GAEL TD for Louth Peter Fitzpatrick has resigned from the party with immediate effect.

In a statement this evening, Fitzpatrick said he had backed the party “when some very difficult decisions had to be taken” but, over the past 15 months, he had “not been given the same support from Fine Gael as [he] had given them”.

Fitzpatrick was a member of the Eighth Amendment Oireachtas Committee, but was in a minority who advocated for it to be retained in the Constitution.

It was expected he would have defied the government whip in voting against proposed abortion legislation due before the Dáil in the coming weeks. 

“My views were not always listened to and I felt isolated within the party itself,” he said tonight.

He said he would continue to represent his constituents and would be standing as an independent candidate in the next general election. 

“The decision to resign from Fine Gael was a difficult decision to make,” Fitzpatrick added. “It would be a great honour for me personally to continue to represent the people of Louth and east Meath and as an independent voice, I feel we can have a stronger voice in the Dáil.”

In a statement this evening, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was sorry to hear of Fitzpatrick’s resignation.

“I know that he has been unhappy for some time and was a strong opponent of holding a referendum on the Eight Amendment,” the Fine Gael leader said.

I spoke to Peter a few weeks ago when he decided not to seek a nomination to contest the next General Election as a Fine Gael candidate. At the time, he confirmed that he would continue to sit, act and vote as a Fine Gael TD until the end of his mandate. I regret that he has since changed his mind.

The Dundalk man is a former manager of the Louth senior football team and was elected the year after guiding the side to the Leinster final in 2010.

He took the last seat in both 2011 and 2016 for the party.

With reporting from Aisling O’Rourke

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