Former Galway mayor appointed to Seanad
Taoiseach nominates Fine Gael councillor Hildegarde Naughton to replace Martin McAleese
Former mayor of Galway City, Hildegarde Naughton, has been appointed to the Seanad by the Taoiseach. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy
File image of Senator Maurice Cummins, and Senator Imelda Henry. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Fine Gael councillor Hildegarde Naughton has been appointed to the Seanad by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to fill the vacancy left following the resignation of Martin McAleese in February.
Ms Naughton, who is a primary school teacher, has served as a member of Galway City Council since 2009 and was mayor of the city last year. She was an unsuccessful candidate in the Galway West constituency in the last general election.
Mr Kenny said Ms Naughton would make a “very constructive” Senator. “Throughout her political career to date, Hildegarde Naughton has been a very capable and committed representative of the people of Galway... I wish her well in her new role,” he said.
Galway Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames and Paul Bradford from Cork, who is married to former minister of state for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, lost the Fine Gael whip after voting against the abortion legislation this week and have been removed from the party’s website.
Galway West TD
Brian Walsh was one of five party TDs, including Ms Creighton, to be expelled from the parliamentary party for opposing the Bill.
Mr McAleese informed the Government he wanted to resign his seat in the Seanad last February, having been appointed as one of the Taoiseach’s nominees in May, 2011.
His announcement coincided with the conclusion of his work chairing the committee conducting an inquiry into the Magdalene laundries, a task he was given shortly after his appointment.
The Taoiseach also unveiled a new team of spokesmen and women for the Seanad today.
Senator Martin Conway will take on the justice portfolio in addition to equality and disabilities, while Senator Imelda Henry adds the social protection brief to her children portfolio. Senator Catherine Noone moves to European affairs, while Eamonn Coghlan takes up the arts and heritage brief.
The announcement was made in a statement this morning by Taoiseach Enda Kenny , and the Fine Gael’s leader of the Seanad, Maurice Cummins.
The statement said all other Fine Gael senators retain their existing roles.
“‘There is a lot of talent in the Fine Gael party, and I know that our spokespeople will do a fine job of getting the message across, that this Government and this party is making every effort to get our economy back on track,” Mr Kenny said.
Mr Cummins said the Senators who were taking on new roles “will have a great opportunity to show their talents in different areas. I am confident that this will make an already strong Seanad team even stronger.”
The Government is proposing the abolition of the Seanad in a referendum later this year.