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Doherty no stranger to political hot water


Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Regina Doherty's frank and outspoken nature has landed her in hot water before. Just before Christmas, Ms Doherty expressed her opposition to the approval of planning permission for the new north-south electricity inter-connector which passes through her Meath East constituency.

Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne - who also opposes the project - accused her of backing protests against her own government when she indicated that she supports farmers and landowners who may engage in "civil disobedience" over the issue. Ms Doherty also said a Cabinet decision would be needed to overturn the An Bord Pleanála decision and, asked by the 'Irish Times' if she would resign over the issue, she replied: "The principle is more important than a job."

Before the summer recess, she regretted wading into the debate over Taoiseach Enda Kenny's future as Fine Gael leader. She said in a local radio interview that he should set out a timeline for his departure. Ms Doherty later said she had answered a question on the issue "without thinking" and that "within an hour of it happening, I realised from social media how much of a stupid thing I had done and he was the first person I called". Ms Doherty also moved to publicly express her support for Mr Kenny within hours of her comments. She said: "An Taoiseach now and always has my full support and backing. The decision on his future, when he makes it, will be completely his own to make."

Ms Doherty previously expressed annoyance that no Fine Gael women TDs were appointed as junior ministers during a reshuffle in 2014.

She said at the time that she "respected the Taoiseach's decision" but said he had "missed an opportunity".

"I am little miffed that we didn't promote women, particularly with the possibility of needing a quota of 30pc of female candidates," she added.

As Government Chief Whip, she has one of the most difficult jobs in the Oireachtas as she must ensure attendance for Dáil votes and debates. Labour TD Joan Burton called on Ms Doherty to apologise last July when a Dáil debate was delayed for 40 minutes because there wasn't a quorum of 20 TDs present. Ms Burton said that for around 20 minutes there were just three Government representatives in the chamber.

Irish Independent