Sunday 22 October 2017

“I’m very sorry to see Lucinda go” – says her successor Paschal Donohue

Minister for European Affairs Pascal Donohoe
Minister for European Affairs Pascal Donohoe

NEW Minister for European Affairs Pascal Donohoe has praised his predecessor Lucinda Creighton her “huge contribution” to the role.

Speaking with Pat Kenny on RTE Radio earlier today, the former FG backbencher said he is both “shocked” and “humbled” by his ministerial appointment.

Ms Creighton resigned from her role after voting against the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill in the early hours of the morning, thereby losing the party whip.

Mr Donohue said he was a friend of Ms Creighton and that he was sorry to see her leave the Fine Gael party.

“I didn’t imagine as a consequence to the challenge that she faced that I would find myself here now.

“I was aware that people were already speculating about what might happen were she to go and I knew my name was in the frame. But I put it in the back of my mind,” he said.

Regarding his own support of the bill, the Dublin Central TD said that even if there was no party whip in place, he would have still voted for the new abortion legislation, “giving women the clarity and protection that they deserve”.

“The State should not be creating the choice for the woman here – it should be creating a clear framework in which that choice is created.”

When pressed on whether his friend Lucinda Creighton “got it wrong”, Donohue said that he has discussed the matter with her privately.

He also confirmed that he would welcome the bill to be sent to the Supreme Court to iron out and subsequently amend any challenges or issues remaining around the legislation.

“I would also recognise the right of other groups to challenge this if they believe they should,” he said.

Mr Donohue told listeners the news of his appointment came out of the blue.

He said he got the call from the Department of the Taoiseach at 1am this morning asking him to go back to Government Buildings.

“It came as a gigantic surprise to me.

“I went up and had a meeting with the Taoiseach who explained to me why he wanted me in the role and asked me to take it.”

And one of the first people he rang to tell the good was news was his mother.

“I just about recovered the power of speech and rang my mam, my wife and brother and my dear friend who have helped me with all my political endeavours to tell them what was happening.”

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