Kenny’s approach to discipline criticised as ‘iron-fisted’
Martin regrets graphic language of some Fianna Fáil Senators
Denis Naughten: was among a number of TDs formally removed from various committees which met yesterday. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s approach to disciplining TDs in the aftermath of the abortion debate has been described as “iron-fisted” by one of the deputies dismissed from an Oireachtas committee as punishment.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has described graphic language about abortion used during contributions by some of his party Senators as “a source of regret”.
Denis Naughten from Roscommon, who lost the Fine Gael whip two years ago when he voted against the downgrading of emergency services at his local hospital, was among a number of TDs formally removed from various committees which met yesterday.
Mr Naughten criticised Mr Kenny’s approach and pointed out he had been allowed to remain on the health committee from July 2011 until yesterday despite repeatedly voting against the Government.
“He has been very iron-fisted in relation to it. I suppose that’s his prerogative. It’s important that alternative voices put forward in relation to legislation should be listened to and not penalised,” Mr Naughten said.
Dublin South TD Peter Mathews, who lost the Fine Gael whip after voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, was discharged from the public service oversight and petitions committee.
Expelled from the transport and communications committee were two TDs now outside the parliamentary party as a result of defying the Government’s stance on abortion legislation: Terence Flanagan of Dublin North-East and Brian Walsh of Galway West.
Fine Gael is expected to sanction two Senators who lost the whip when they voted against the Bill this week. Paul Bradford, who is married to former minister of state for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, sits on the justice committee and Fidelma Healy-Eames is a member of the committee on education and social protection.
Separately, Mr Martin condemned the language used by some of his party’s Senators. “The fundamental purpose of this legislation is to protect the lives of mothers. I believe it is important that all sides in the debate show respect, compassion and avoid the use of emotive and provocative language,” Mr Martin said.“It is a source of regret that some contributions, including from within my own party, have fallen short of that standard.”