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Monday 18 December 2017

Denis Naughton expelled from Oireachtas committee

Denis Naughton
Denis Naughton

Eilish O'Regan, Health Correspondent

INDEPENDENT Roscommon TD Denis Naughton revealed he has been expelled from the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

The angry TD said he was informed he would no longer be a member of the committee this morning on the grounds he had asked for a vote during the report stage of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in the Dail.

He had asked that TDs vote on his proposal that women who are suicidal and seeking an abortion be represented when they appear before a tribunal assessing if she have the termination.

He said the chief whip Paul Kehoe made he decision to remove him from the Oireachtas committee as a result of his request for a vote.

Deputy Naughton was previously lost of Fine Gael whip in 2011 when he opposed the government on the closure of the emergency department at Roscommon Hospital.

The TD made an effort to raise the issue at this morning's meeting of the committee but was told it was not possible for members to make personal statements.

He said it was a disgrace that he was not able to speak but chairman Fine Gael TD said he had not been informed about the decision.

He later said neither nor the clerk had received any notification about the removal of Deputy Naughton from the committee.

Deputy Naughton said later he was being "muzzled" and saddened that he was expelled as a member of the committee for doing his job of scrutinising legislation.

He was being punished for "pressing that a woman, who believed that her life is under threat, has a legal right to have a person attend with her when she is faced with making her case for a termination in front of a panel of three medical consultants."

He added:"I am disappointed that a government with the biggest majority since the foundation of the state feels that it must stamp out any scrutiny of its decisions.

"I make no apology for standing up for women who believe that their life is at issue."

He said:"I have no regret for doing so but I believe this parliament will be the worse for not allowing scrutiny of its decisions."

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