Naughton takes Seanad seat

The country's newest senator has taken her seat in the Seanad this afternoon.

Naughton takes Seanad seat

The country's newest senator has taken her seat in the Seanad this afternoon.

Hildegarde Naughton was nominated by the Taoiseach to replace Dr Martin McAleese who resigned his seat earlier this year.

The 36-year-old former primary school teacher, whose father PJ was a member of the Fine Gael National Executive, is expected to be the Fine Gael candidate in Galway West constituency - where Deputy Brian Walsh and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames were expelled for opposing the abortion laws.

Her appointment didn't find favour with Senator David Norris because during the presidential campaign, as Mayor of Galway, she denied him the right to address councillors.

"I'd like to ask if this is the direction in which Seanad Éireann is going - it's getting like D-Day here with all the parachutes landing all over the place," he told senators today.

"It indicates the Taoiseach's continuing determination to corrupt the Senate," he added.

However Senator Healy-Eames was among those to offer a welcome to the Upper House to her fellow Galway woman.

"I am very happy to welcome Hildegarde to the chamber - you're very welcome - we go back a bit" she said.

"I have to say that her dad was very good to me - he was mentor in politics when I started - Oranmore won't know what hit it with two of us here," she added.

The Seanad will today begin its last session of debates on the proposed abortion bill.

Senators will spend this evening and tomorrow discussing the last 62 amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

Among the amendments are possible changes to the criminal punishment, and plans to ensure that the remains of an unborn child are turned to its mother for burial.

A final vote on passing the bill is expected tomorrow night.

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