Hildegarde Naughton

Hildegarde Naughton
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
Constituency Galway West
In office
19 July 2013  26 February 2016
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born 1977
Galway, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fine Gael
Profession Teacher

Hildegarde Naughton (born 1977) is an Irish Fine Gael politician and primary school teacher.[1] She became a member of the 24th Seanad on 19 July 2013 when she was nominated by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Martin McAleese.[2] Prior to this she had been a member of Galway City Council since the 2009 local elections.[2] At the 2016 general election, she was elected to the 32nd Dáil as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency.

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.[3] She teaches at St. Patrick's Boys School in Galway city.[4] 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.[4] 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).[3][5] John Cunningham suggested that personal networking, effective postering, and the endorsement of Maureen Egan aided her victory.[3] After 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 in the 2011 general election in Galway West.[5] During the campaign in January, she alleged that councillors had been "doing the bidding" of a "hidden elite" for 20 years.[6] 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, Fianna Fáil, and independent councillors.[2][6] Her nomination was in doubt after councillors objected to her allegation the previous January.[6] 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 Irish 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.[2][11]


  1. "Ms. Hildegarde Naughton". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Kenny nominates Hildegarde Naughton to Seanad". RTÉ News. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 Cunningham, John (2 December 2009). "'Mull' ponders on what might have been after 24 years in local politics". Connacht Tribune. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Twin triumph for Patrician Musical Society". Galway Independent. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  5. 1 2 "Hildegarde Naughton". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 "Fine Gael councillor elected mayor of Galway after pact". The Irish Times. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. "NEW MAYOR WANTS MORE ACHIEVABLE VISION OF CITY". GalwayNews.ie. Galway Bay FM. 30 June 2011. 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.
Civic offices
Preceded by
Michael Crowe
Mayor of Galway
Succeeded by
Terry O'Flaherty
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