Activists urging minister to stick with FG
EUROPEAN Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton is being urged by her constituency activists to vote for the abortion bill and stay in Fine Gael.
Ms Creighton has promised to speak to some in her local organisation in the coming days before she makes a final call on the abortion bill, the Irish Independent has learnt.
But some in Dublin South East Fine Gael say almost 80pc of active party members are telling her she must stay.
Others even put the figure as high as 100pc.
It means Ms Creighton could have difficulty bringing a substantial local organisation with her if she were to lose the Fine Gael whip in the Dail, or if she were to leave the Fine Gael party entirely.
It comes as the minister makes her mind up as to how she will vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in its final stages next week.
Paddy McCartan, a Dublin city councillor for the Pembroke ward, says he will be speaking to Ms Creighton and conveying the concerns of local members to her.
Mr McCartan, who is politically close to Ms Creighton having nominated her for her maiden Dail run in 2007, says he has been inundated with messages from local party members urging her to stay in the fold.
He said the widespread feeling is she will be better fighting for social issues within Fine Gael, and he questioned Taoiseach Enda Kenny's threat to bar rebels from running for the party at the next election, saying he wasn't sure party rules allowed for this.
Mr McCartan said around 75pc to 80pc of members wanted her to stay and fight for social issues from within the party.
"She is an excellent TD, Fine Gael representative and minister."
Dublin South East has been renamed Dublin Bay South, and the Dublin Bay South Fine Gael chairman John Hogan said members "to a person" wanted Ms Creighton to stay in the party.
But he said "the rules in the party are clear" and Mr Kenny had their full support.