Galway West TD Brian Walsh has revealed that he was threatened with the elevation of Hildegarde Naughton to the Senate if the former Fine Gael Deputy carried out his promise to vote against the abortion legislation.
He told the Connacht Sentinel that the recent decision to appoint the city school teacher to the vacancy in the Seanad came as no surprise to him.
Deputy Walsh is now facing the prospect of fighting the next General Election as an independent candidate as there is no way back to Fine Gael in the foreseeable future.
His decision to vote against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill resulted in him being banished from the FG party along with party colleague Senator Fidelma Healy Eames.
But the city based TD said that he knew of the circumstances of his decision long before the vote took place but he added that he voted according to his values.
He said that he was willing to accept political isolation as the price for keeping his election promise and standing by his principles.
“Hildegarde’s appointment didn’t come as a huge surprise to me, as it had been suggested to me in the course of discussions with the party hierarchy that this might happen if I voted against the abortion legislation.
“Nonetheless, she was a fine local representative and I have no doubt that she will have a valuable contribution to make in the Seanad.
“I have been actively involved in Fine Gael for most of my life and, notwithstanding the removal of the whip, I remain a member of the party and have at all times stood by its core values.
“In opposing the Government’s legislation on abortion, I voted in accordance with those values and the pre-election commitment that we gave people on the doorsteps prior to the last general election in 2011.
“I was under no illusion as to the consequences of my decision when I voted against the Bill, but if political isolation is the price to be paid for keeping an election promise and standing by one’s principles, then I will gladly pay it.
“I believe I still have a lot to offer in politics and I will be standing in the next General Election. At this stage, I would hope to do so as a Fine Gael candidate but if that doesn’t happen, I will be running as an Independent. “
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to email@example.com or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!
Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.
A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.
Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.
Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down.
The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.
Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.
Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.
However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.
“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.
Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.
Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.
“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.
There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.