Peter Mathews announces resignation from Fine Gael
Dublin South TD tenders resignation to Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Dublin South TD Peter Mathews: resigning from Fine Gael. File Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times
Mr Mathews, who lost the party whip after voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill during the summer, said he has delivered a letter of resignation to the office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
“Unfortunately I have been placed in a position by the leadership of the party that has led me to this decision,” he wrote.
Mr Mathews, a first-time TD who made his name as a commentator on the banking crisis, said he would carry on as an independent member of the Dáil. He said looked forward to working with the Reform Alliance, which recognised the mutual advantages of sharing ideas in a “flexible and collegial” fashion.
Mr Mathews said he had been told by the Fine Gael leadership that there is no way back for him. “I don’t sign blank cheques in financial terms and I don’t sign things that I feel there might be difficulty with further down the line unless I pre-clear it,” he told RTÉ Radio. “I would not be signing a blind political loyalty to some areas that might be more important and more core to life and death matters than normal political policy matters. For instance, I said life begins at conception.”
He said he would stay in politics and “put myself forward” in the next general election. He declined to say if he would be running as an Independent or join another political party.
Mr Mathews is part of the Reform Alliance grouping, which comprises five Fine Gael TDs and Senators who were expelled from the party after voting against the Government on the abortion Bill. Mr Mathews was also removed from two Oireachtas committees, the finance public expenditure and public policy oversight petitions.
The group also includes TDs Lucinda Creighton, Billy Timmins, Terence Flanagan and Denis Naughten along with Senators Paul Bradford and Fidelma Healy-Eames. The alliance has said theirs is a loose grouping and not a new party in the making.
*This article was amended on October 4th, 2013 to correct a quote attributed to Mr Mathews. He said life begins at "conception", not birth as originally reported.