Creighton replaced as Dáil passes new abortion law
Paschal Donohoe appointed Minister of State
An anti-abortion protestor prays outside the Dail tonight as the amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill are debated. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Lucinda Creighton gives an interview on the plinth outside the Dail last night after voting against the Government’s abortion legislation. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Pro-choice campaigners celebrate as news of the voting in Leinster House comes through. Photograph: Dave Meehan
The Government has won the final vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 by 127 votes to 31.
Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton voted against the Government on the abortion legislation. Following an incorporeal Cabinet meeting last night – the first of the current Government - Dublin TD Paschal Donohoe was appointed to replace her.
In a statement Mr Kenny said “on my nomination, the Government has appointed deputy Paschal Donohoe as Minister of State for European Affairs.”
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Mr Kenny said he was sure Mr Donohoe would make an excellent Minister of State and would make an “important contribution to the continued enhancement of Ireland’s role in the EU”.
Fianna Fáil’s Michael Moynihan, who had been one of the six party TDs who had supported the legislation at second stage, also vote against it. In the end, 14 Fianna Fáil TDs voted against the legislation while five supported it.
Former Labour minister Roisin Shortall abstained on the Bill. Former Labour TD Colm Keaveney voted against as did five independents and Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, because they believed the legislation did not go far enough.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore was in the US, while Independents Noel Grealish and Maureen O’Sullivan and Fine Gael’s Nicky McFadden were absent.
There was a round of applause after the vote was passed and pro-choice supporters outside Leinster House cheered at the result. The legislation will now be discussed by the Seanad on Monday.
Earlier, Minister for Health James Reilly said the criminal sanction for procuring an abortion will be reduced from penal servitude for life to a maximum of 14 years under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
In the final vote on an amendment, Dr Reilly rejected opposition appeals to decriminalise the procurement of an abortion and said it was essential to have a penalty to uphold the Constitution.
The Government won this vote by 110 to 13. Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein TDs abstained as did Ms Shortall and Colm Keaveney. Ms Creighton voted with the Government.
Earlier, Ms Creighton voted No in a section of the Bill on the risk of loss of life from suicide and was automatically expelled from the parliamentary party.
The Government won the vote on this amendment by 130 to 24. It was amendment number 56 of 165 in total.
Speaking to reporters on the plinth of Leinster House tonight, Ms Creighton said she felt very sad as she had been a member of Fine Gael since she was 18.
“At the same time I am relieved because this is a huge issue that has been weighing on everybody’s mind for months,” she said. “It’s no exaggeration to say that a lot of people have really struggled on which way they would vote in this legislation and now obviously five members of the Dáil from my parliamentary party [will not support it].”
Ms Creighton said it was a “big shock” to find herself no longer a member of the Fine Gael parliamentary party. She also confirmed she would resign as a Minister immediately.
Asked if there was a route back to Fine Gael for her, she said it was hard to know what the future held, but she remained a member of Fine Gael and would continue to work with her local organisation in Dublin South East.
Ms Creighton talked to the Taoiseach as she left the Dáil chamber. Asked what she had said to him, she said: “I wished him luck. I have worked in his Department [for two and a half years].