Ballinacargy TD Willie Penrose has resigned as a Minister of State over the decision to close Columb Barracks in Mullingar. The Cabinet voted today to close four military barracks around the country – Cavan, Clonmel, Castlebar and Mullingar and ‘Super Junior’ Minister Willie Penrose announced his decision to quit from the Government afterwards.
“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,” Deputy Penrose said in a statement. The TD added that while he no longer held the party whip, he would continue to serve the people of Longford Westmeath.
His departure will cause major headaches for the Labour party in the region. The Westmeath branch of Labour is the biggest branch in the country outside the main cities. It is believed that a number of Labour party councillors in Westmeath will resign from the party in protest.
Minister Penrose is the second politician in the region to resign in protest at decisions taken by the current Government. Earlier this year, Roscommon South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten resigned from Fine Gael over the decision to close the A&E unit in Roscommon Hospital.