Thomas Pringle (politician)

Thomas Pringle
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
Constituency Donegal
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011  February 2016
Constituency Donegal South-West
Personal details

August 1967 (age 49)

Nationality Irish
Political party Independent
Other political
Sinn Féin (2004–07)

Thomas Pringle (born August 1967) is an Irish left-wing independent politician and a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Donegal constituency.[1][2] He formerly served as a TD for the Donegal South-West constituency and as a councillor on Donegal County Council.

Early life

Pringle was born into a Republican family. His father Peter was a supporter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and was convicted of the murder of two members of the Gardaí in 1980, a conviction that was subsequently declared as unsafe, although it has not been certified as a miscarriage of justice.[3] He is a patron of the People's Movement[4] which campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty.

Pringle was previously a member of Donegal County Council having been elected as an independent councillor in 1999 and then as a Sinn Féin candidate in 2004. He left Sinn Féin in 2007 and retained his seat as an independent in 2009.[5]

Dáil Éireann (2011–present)

Pringle was elected as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Donegal South-West constituency at the 2011 general election, unseating the incumbent Tánaiste Mary Coughlan.[6]

On 5 December 2011, Pringle delivered a televised address to the nation, representing the technical group of TDs in Dáil Éireann. He did so in response to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Address to the nation of the previous evening.[7] Later that month Pringle called on people for support in a campaign not to pay a new household charge brought in as part of the latest austerity budget, and announced that he would not register for the tax or pay it.[8][9][10]

In February 2012, he published his expenses online.[11] He was elected leader of the Technical group in Dáil Éireann in March 2012.[12]

In May 2012, Pringle brought an unsuccessful High Court challenge over the 2012 European Fiscal Compact referendum.[13] and the ESM Treaty which was appealed to the Supreme Court in July 2012. In July 2012, the Irish Supreme Court decided to refer three questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union arising out of his challenge to the European Stability Mechanism Treaty and doubts about the legality under the European treaties of the ESM. The CJEU held an oral hearing on the referral on 23 October 2012. The full court of 27 members sat in an historic sitting, it was the first time that the full court sat to hear a reference from a member state of the union and heard oral arguments from counsel for Pringle, Ireland, nine member states, the commission, the council and the European Parliament. On 27 November 2012, the EU Court of Justice dismissed all arguments of Thomas Pringle.[14]

In the 2016 general election, after a redrawing of constituency boundaries, Pringle campaigned in the new five-seater Donegal constituency. He was re-elected to the final seat by a margin of just 184 votes over Sinn Féin's Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.[15] During negotiations to form a government, Pringle said he was glad not to have signed up to the Independent Alliance after that group entered talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Pringle said that unless Kenny or Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin signed up to Right2Change he would not support either as Taoiseach.[16]

As of April 2016, Pringle is a member of the Independents 4 Change group.[17]

In May 2016, Pringle introduced legislation designed to retain water in public ownership and avoid further privatisation.[18]


  1. "Mr. Thomas Pringle". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  2. "Family dynasties held hostage to ruined political fortunes of Fianna Fáil". The Irish Times. 28 February 2011.
  4. "Patrons of the Peoples Movement". People's Movement. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  5. "Thomas Pringle". Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  6. "Donegal South-West". Election 2011. RTÉ News. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  7. "TD Thomas Pringle's address to the nation in full". Donegal Daily. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  8. "Pringle will not pay household charge". RTÉ News. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  9. "Higgins urges public to boycott 'unjust' €100 Household Charge". The Journal. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  10. O'Halloran, Marie; O'Regan, Michael (14 December 2011). "Kenny defends household charge". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  11. "Pringle publishes his expenses for all to see". Donegal Daily. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  12. "Pringle takes top Dail post". Donegal Democrat. 27 March 2012.
  13. "Independent TD takes legal action over EU treaties". The Irish Times. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  14. "ECJ gives the green light for the European Stability Mechanism, Pringle, C-370/12".
  15. "Donegal count: Independent Thomas Pringle takes final seat". The Irish Times. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  16. IA presents Kenny with 'Charter for Change'
  17. "Connolly and Pringle join I4C in April 2016". Oireachtas Éireann/Kildarestreet. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
Preceded by
Mary Coughlan
(Fianna Fáil)
Independent Teachta Dála for Donegal South-West
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