Dermot Ahern

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Dermot Ahern : biography

20 April 1955 –

The amendment was passed in the Dáil on the 9 July 2009 with only an hour of the debate set aside for the bill, and was then narrowly passed by the Seanad the next day by walk-through vote, after being defeated in the initial electronic vote. This amendment has been criticized by many within the public sphere, free speech campaigners and some ministers of European Union member states. As of 2010, the law is in effect.

Ahern is responsible for the Civil Partnership Bill 2009 published on 26 June 2009.

He received the Murphy Report into child sexual abuse in the Dublin Diocese in June 2009. Most of the report was published on 26 November 2009 of that year, though parts were not, due to names that were undergoing prosecution.

As part of a reshuffle in March 2010, the Equality affairs section of the department was moved to the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Ahern said that in March 2010 he will propose to the Cabinet a constitutional amendment deleting the constitutional prohibition on blasphemy when the children’s rights amendment comes up. The children’s rights amendment is set to be put to referendum in the Autumn 2010. Ahern was opposed to a stand-alone referendum that would have cost €3 or €4 million, his spokesman added. At the time, Ahern wrote in The Irish Times: “My intention is to remove the possibility of prison sentences and private prosecutions for blasphemy, currently provided for in Irish law. The only credible alternative to this move is a blasphemy referendum, which I consider, in the current circumstances, a costly and unwarranted diversion.

On 15 November 2010, he described as ‘fiction’ the speculation that Ireland was about to seek financial aid from the European Union. He told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that ‘nothing is going on at the direction of Government in relation to this.’ On 21 November 2010, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen confirmed that Ireland had formally requested financial support from the European Union’s European Financial Stability Facility and the International Monetary Fund..

Retirement

On 30 November 2010, he announced he will not contest his Dáil seat at the 2011 general election, as he has rheumatoid arthritis, and said it was a "painful medical condition necessitating heavy medication". He retires to a combined annual ministerial and TD’s pension of €128,300. He resigned as Minister for Justice and Law Reform on 19 January 2011.