TDs accused of ‘opportunism’ after copying year-old Bill
Penrose clashes with Flanagan over plan to use wind turbines Bill
Independent TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan: accused Labour TD Willie Penrose of displaying “an unhealthy ownership of an issue”.
Independent TDs Mick Wallace, Luke “Ming” Flanagan and Clare Daly have been accused of “naked political opportunism” after they copied a year-old Bill from another deputy and tabled it in their own names.
The Bill, on wind turbines, was first tabled last November by Longford-Westmeath TD Willie Penrose.
Mr Penrose was an Independent TD at the time, but he has now been readmitted to the Labour parliamentary party.
However, Mr Wallace, Mr Flanagan and Ms Daly just last week tabled the same Bill word for word in their own names.
The only differences were in the titles, which updated the Bill from a 2012 Bill to a 2013 Bill, and slight changes in how it was presented.
The accompanying explanatory memorandum was also replicated in its entirety, aside from changes to the date.
Mr Penrose told The Irish Times Mr Flanagan informed him a number of weeks ago he intended to use the Bill.
“He was on to me and he said: ‘I’m going to use your Bill’,” Mr Penrose said. “There’s nothing on the order paper that can be used to stop him. I was disgusted, I see it as nothing but naked political opportunism.
“I didn’t give anyone permission or authority to use my Bill. He said he looked forward to my support.”
Mr Penrose said he had carried out a substantial amount of work and research preparing his Bill, which aims to regulate the locations of wind turbines, and is angry other people are passing it off as their own.
He also said that although Mr Flanagan was in contact with him last month, he was completely unaware Mr Wallace and Ms Daly would also be publishing the Bill until they were distributed by Oireachtas authorities last Friday.
Mr Flanagan accused Mr Penrose of displaying “an unhealthy ownership of an issue”.
Backbench TDs from all sides of the Dáil can table so-called Private Members’ Bills, which are any Bills not introduced by the Government.
Under recent changes to Dáil procedures, TDs can publish their own Bills which may then be picked out of a lottery system and debated in the Dáil.
Mr Flanagan said copying the Bill, and tabling it under numerous names, increased the chances of it being selected.
In a statement, Mr Flanagan acknowledged the Bill had been drafted by Mr Penrose.
“The deputy is well entitled to feel astounded at my doubling up on his Bill, as this is indeed an unusual route to take,” Mr Flanagan said.