Ousted Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten is considering quitting politics for good following his expulsion from the party late last night (Thursday).
Mr Naughten’s decision to vote against the Government in a motion to reverse cuts at Roscommon Hospital led Chief Whip Paul Kehoe to last night remove him from the party.
Less than 24 hours on from the controversy the father of three, who now faces years as an independent backbencher, admitted the events of the past week had forced him to re-evaluate his future in politics.
“I honestly don’t know what I will do,” he told www.longfordleader.ie earlier today. “I never made a secret of it that my aim was always to become a cabinet minister. That chance has obviously gone now, so I will have to give it serious thought.”
Reflecting on his decision, Mr Naughten said he could not bring himself to support the Government as it looked to press ahead with plans to downgrade services at Roscommon County Hospital by closing its emergency department from Monday.
By doing so, he said, would have effectively rendered a pre-election promise he gave local constituents meaningless.
“I don’t have any regrets,” he said. “I felt I had given a committment to the people of Roscommon. In the end I had to make the call which I did on a matter of principle.”
Full report in this week’s Longford Leader, out Wednesday.