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Independent Senator Sharon Keogan.
I'm out

Senator Sharon Keogan quits Oireachtas Committee citing 'unsafe working environment'

Keogan has hit the headlines in the past week after she was asked to leave a separate committee’s meeting.

INDEPENDENT SENATOR SHARON Keogan is resigning from the Oireachtas Children’s Committee citing an “unsafe working environment”. 

Keogan has hit the headlines in the past week after she was asked to leave a separate committee’s meeting before she publicly complained about being “silenced”. 

The issue arose during last Thursday’s meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on International Surrogacy 

Now, in an email to members of the Children’s Committee, Keogan said she was resigning as a member of the Children’s Committee but was remaining on the International Surrogacy Committee. 

Her email had the subject line “Unsafe Working Environment/Resignation”.

“I no longer feel safe or protected as a member of the Committee and have made this difficult decision as a result of that,” she told members. 

I will offer my place to an Independent Senator from my grouping and will correspond directly with the Seanad office in order so that a Committee of Selection can be convened. 

During last week’s meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on International Surrogacy, Keogan was accused by Independent Senator Lynn Ruane of disrespecting the witnesses and of being “crude and cold”. 

Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney also called for Keogan to remain “respectful” in her comments. 

The committee had been hearing evidence from witnesses with experience of surrogacy, including those who had had children conceived using assisted human reproduction.

Keogan said she “does not believe it is everyone’s right to have a child” and she also told a representative for the Irish Gay Dads advocacy group that he was “extremely lucky to be here”. 

Acting chair of the committee Kathleen Funchion TD of Sinn Féin had suspended the meeting following those comments from Keogan to the representative. 

Following that meeting, Keogan wrote to committee chair Jennifer Whitmore TD of the Social Democrats saying that her words had been “misinterpreted”

Keogan has also posted tweets in recent days asserting her “right to free speech”. 

Funchion said she “was surprised to hear” of Keogan’s decision to leave the Children’s Committee.

“It is always disappointing when any member resigns from a committee and I thank her for her contribution to the committee,” Funchion said.

“I wish her well going forward and would like to take the opportunity to clarify that any allegations or issues that were referenced in her letter were not brought to the attention of the children’s committee prior to receipt of her letter today. “

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