Willie Penrose TD and Minister of State at Department of Environment, Community & Local Government with responsibility for Housing & Planning has resigned from the Cabinet and from the Labour Party. Penrose was a Super Junior Minister meaning he was entitled to attend all Cabinet meetings.
He has resigned over the issue of the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar which is within his constituency.
He has issued this statement (from Politics.ie
It was regret that I tendered my resignation as Minister of State at the Dept of the Environment today.
Over recent weeks and months, I had made my clear unstinting opposition to proposals to close Columb Barracks in Mullingar, so arising from a decision that was made at cabinet today, I had no alternative but to take this course of action.
I fully appreciate that difficult decisions have to be made by the Govt if we are to get out of the economic mess in which we have found ourselves, but I was not prepared to stand over a decision that was not backed up by the facts and figures.
In the context of collective cabinet responsibility, and given my vociferous opposition to this proposal, I could not continue in Govt, and so have tendered my resignation to the Tanaiste, the Taoiseach and the Labour Whip.
I understand and appreciate that significant efforts were made by my Labour colleagues in Govt, who fully understood the depths of my feelings in this regard, to resolve this matter, but to no avail.
While I will no longer hold the Labour whip, I will continue to serve the people of Longford Westmeath as an active and vocal public representative.
While this will not make much of an difference to Government numbers, it may be a wake up call to Labour Ministers that at the end of the day its their constituencies that matter and with €3.8bn worth of cuts to come, it will be a hard time for them at home.