Hildegarde Naughton

Hildegarde Naughton (born 1 May 1977) is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency since the 2016 general election.[1] She was appointed Chair of the Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment in April 2016. She previously served as a Senator from 2013 to 2016, after being nominated by the Taoiseach.

Hildegarde Naughton

Naughton in 2016
Chair of the Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment
Assumed office
4 April 2016
Preceded byNew office
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
ConstituencyGalway West
In office
July 2013  February 2016
ConstituencyNominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1977-05-01) 1 May 1977
Oranmore, County Galway, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Alma materSt Patrick's College, Dublin

She was member of Galway City Council from 2009 to 2013.

Personal life

From Oranmore near Galway, Ireland, Naughton is the only daughter of P.J. and Marguerite Naughton. Her father was a member of the Fine Gael National Executive.[2] She was teacher at St. Patrick's Boys School in Galway.[3] She is a classically trained soprano, and in 2008 won the Association of Irish Musical Societies' Best Actress award for her role as Eliza Doolittle in the Galway Patrician Musical Society's production of My Fair Lady.[3] She speaks fluent French. She was co-ordinator of the 2007 Telethon People in Need Campaign for Galway City and County, which raised over €300,000 for local charities.

Political career

Naughton surprised many by unseating party colleague John Mulholland at the 2009 local elections in the city's west electoral area (Salthill-Claddagh-Knocknacarra).[2][4] John Cunningham suggested that personal networking, effective postering, and the endorsement of Maureen Egan aided her victory.[2] After her election, she was a director on Galway City Partnership Board and a member of Galway City Council's Transport Strategic Policy Committee and the Galway City Vocational Education Committee.

Naughton ran unsuccessfully for the Dáil at the 2011 general election in Galway West.[4] During the campaign in January, she alleged that councillors had been "doing the bidding" of a "hidden elite" for 20 years.[5] In June, she was Fine Gael's choice for Mayor of Galway for 2011–12, part of a pact rotating the post between Fine Gael, Labour Party, and some Independent members.[5][6] Her nomination was in doubt after Councillors objected to her allegation the previous January.[5] She unreservedly withdrew the comments before the mayoral vote was taken.[7]

She caused controversy when she used her casting vote as Mayor to deny David Norris the right to address Galway City Council during his campaign to get a nomination for the 2011 presidential election. She later claimed it was a "misunderstanding".[8]

In July 2013, Galway West TD Brian Walsh was expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party for voting against the party whip on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. Media speculated that the party would deselect Walsh for the 2016 general election, with Naughton a prospective candidate.[9] Fidelma Healy Eames, a Senator, based in the constituency, was expelled a week after Walsh for opposing the same bill.[10] Later that week, Naughton was appointed to the Seanad.[6][11]

In October 2019 she was appointed to the chair of the Dáil committee investigating ethics complaints about members who voted on behalf of colleagues. She was later forced to resign after it came to light that she had done the same on several occasions. Voting on behalf of colleagues in the Dáil was not permitted.[12]


  1. "Hildegarde Naughton". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  2. Cunningham, John (2 December 2009). "'Mull' ponders on what might have been after 24 years in local politics". Connacht Tribune. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. "Twin triumph for Patrician Musical Society". Galway Independent. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  4. "Hildegarde Naughton". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  5. "Fine Gael councillor elected mayor of Galway after pact". The Irish Times. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  6. "Kenny nominates Hildegarde Naughton to Seanad". RTÉ News. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. "NEW MAYOR WANTS MORE ACHIEVABLE VISION OF CITY". GalwayNews.ie. Galway Bay FM. 30 June 2011. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  8. "Galway Mayor says Norris vote was a 'mistake'". RTÉ News. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  9. Andrews, Kernan (4 July 2013). "Walsh demotion opens way for Naughton". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  10. "Seanad passes abortion legislation second stage". RTÉ News. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  11. Shanahan, Fionnan (19 July 2013). "Kenny appoints new Senator from Galway in wake of abortion defection". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  12. O'Connell, Hugh. "Votegate inquiry in turmoil after chair Hildegarde Naughton forced to stand aside". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
Civic offices
Preceded by
Michael Crowe
Mayor of Galway
Succeeded by
Terry O'Flaherty
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