Walsh appeals to Taoiseach not to expel FG members who oppose abortion legislation

Galway West TD says precedent set in 1993 over Bill to ban hare coursing

Brian Walsh: “I believe members who oppose the legislation should not be penalised with expulsion from the party.”

Brian Walsh: “I believe members who oppose the legislation should not be penalised with expulsion from the party.”

Fri, Jun 21, 2013, 01:00



Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh has appealed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny not to expel from the party Oireachtas members who oppose proposed abortion laws.

The Galway West deputy said a precedent was set in 1993 when the now Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and others were allowed to remain in the parliamentary party after supporting a Bill to ban hare coursing, which was opposed by Fine Gael.

“Regrettably, it appears that Fine Gael will accommodate a vote of conscience on legislation concerning the welfare of hares but may not on legislation concerning the welfare of women and children,” wrote Mr Walsh in an email to TDs and Senators yesterday.

“I believe members who oppose the legislation should not be penalised with expulsion from the party,” he added.

Minister for Health James Reilly fielded questions on proposed abortion legislation from Fine Gael TDs with concerns about the inclusion of a suicide clause at an internal party meeting.

One of Dr Reilly’s special advisers, Maureen Windle, also attended the Fine Gael health committee meeting which was chaired by Meath East TD Regina Doherty. It followed the beginning of the Dáil debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan, Dublin North East TD Terence Flanagan and Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin were among those who quizzed Dr Reilly on technical aspects of the Bill.