Fine Gael 'broke pledge to electorate' - Timmins

Wicklow TD feels 'a little hard done by' after losing party whip for voting with conscience

Billy Timmins says the speed at which he was removed from the Fine Gael parliamentary party for voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill could scare others. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

One of the four TDs ousted from the Fine Gael parliamentary party said the senior coalition partner had broken a pledge to the electorate by moving to legislate for the X Case.

Wicklow TD Billy Timmins voted against the Government in the second stage of the Protection of Life During Pregancy Bill in the Dáil yesterday.

Speaking on RTÉ radio this morning, Mr Timmins said he was not trying to defy Taoiseach Enda Kenny but rather voting with his conscience.

“I’m pragmatic and I understand that, but I find it ironic in many respects that I’m being turfed out for that [breaking a party pledge]. The party itself broke a pledge to the electorate that it would not legislate for the X case because, in the words of former taoiseach John Bruton, it would legislate for abortion,” he said.


“The issue was not in the Programme for Government, so certainly from that aspect, I feel a little bit hard done by.”

Mr Timmins said he has not thought about what way to run in the next General election, but that it might be outside of his control.

“The speed at which we’ve been removed has probably put frighteners on others who have actually expressed concerns about the same issues during their speeches,” he said.

“What future have I in Fine Gael? I have no future right now because I’m actually outside the parliamentary party so it’s not an issue for me.”

Terence Flanagan, Peter Mathews and Brian Walsh were also removed from the parliamentary party for voting against the Bill.