Thomas Pringle (politician)

Thomas Pringle (born 30 August 1967) is an Irish independent politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Donegal constituency since the 2016 general election, and previously from 2011 to 2016 for the Donegal South-West constituency.[2][3]

Thomas Pringle
Pringle in 2016
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
In office
February 2011 – February 2016
ConstituencyDonegal South-West
Personal details
Born (1967-08-30) 30 August 1967 (age 56)[1]
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Sinn Féin (2004–2007)
Alma mater

Early life


Pringle was born into an Irish Republican family. His father, Peter, was a supporter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), and was convicted of the killing 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.[4] He is a patron of the People's Movement,[5] which campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty. He previously worked for Donegal County Council, where he managed a water treatment plant and was a shop steward.[6] Pringle is married and has three children.[7]

Pringle was previously a member of Donegal County Council, having been elected as an independent member 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.[8]

Dáil Éireann (2011–present)


Pringle was elected as a TD for the Donegal South-West constituency at the 2011 general election, unseating the incumbent Tánaiste Mary Coughlan.[9] He quickly became an ally of Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, elected as an independent TD at the same time as Pringle, but for the Roscommon–South Leitrim constituency. Flanagan and Pringle would go on to support each other on many issues, including reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and opposition to the MERCOSUR deal.[10] Even when Flanagan was elected as an MEP for the Midlands–North-West constituency after spending three years in the Dáil, himself and Pringle continued to work together, and Flanagan visited Donegal to canvass for Pringle ahead of the 2020 general election.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12][13][14]

In February 2012, he published his expenses online.[15] He was elected leader of the Technical group in Dáil Éireann in March 2012.[16]

In May 2012, Pringle brought an unsuccessful High Court challenge over the 2012 European Fiscal Compact referendum and[17] 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 of the European Stability Mechanism Treaty and doubts about the ESM's legality under the Treaties of the European Union. The CJEU held an oral hearing on the referral on 23 October 2012. It was the first time that the full court sat to hear a reference from a member state of the Union. The 27 judges heard oral arguments from the counsel for Pringle, Ireland, nine other member states, the Commission, the Council, and the European Parliament. On 27 November 2012, the EU Court of Justice dismissed of Pringle's arguments and ruled that the ESM was in accordance with the Treaties.[18]

In the 2016 general election, after a re-drawing 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.[19] 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.[20]

As of April 2016, Pringle had become a member of the Independents 4 Change technical group in the Dáil.[21]

In May 2016, Pringle introduced legislation designed to retain water in public ownership and avoid further privatisation.[22][6]

Pringle put forward a bill calling on the government to end public spending from fossil fuels, which passed, making Ireland the first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels.[10] In June 2022, Pringle put forward a bill proposing a referendum on lowering the voting age to 16.[23]


  1. ^ Tim Ryan (2020). Nealon's Guide to the 33rd Dáil and 26th Seanad and the 2019 Local and European Elections. Grand Canal Publishing.
  2. ^ "Thomas Pringle". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Family dynasties held hostage to ruined political fortunes of Fianna Fáil". The Irish Times. 28 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Peter Pringle is no death-row poster boy". Irish Examiner. 3 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Patrons of the Peoples Movement". People's Movement. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  6. ^ a b McClements, Freya. "Election 2020: Thomas Pringle (Independent)". The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  7. ^ Moriarty, Gerry. "Profile: Thomas Pringle (Ind)". The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Thomas Pringle". Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Donegal South-West". Election 2011. RTÉ News. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Sharkey, Conor (6 February 2020). "Squally conditions not enough to dampen spirits of 'Team Pringle'". Donegal News. p. 9.
  11. ^ "TD Thomas Pringle's address to the nation in full". Donegal Daily. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Pringle will not pay household charge". RTÉ News. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Higgins urges public to boycott 'unjust' €100 Household Charge". The Journal. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  14. ^ O'Halloran, Marie; O'Regan, Michael (14 December 2011). "Kenny defends household charge". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  15. ^ "Pringle publishes his expenses for all to see". Donegal Daily. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Pringle takes top Dail post". Donegal Democrat. 27 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Independent TD takes legal action over EU treaties". The Irish Times. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  18. ^ "ECJ gives the green light for the European Stability Mechanism, Pringle, C-370/12". Eurolitigation blog. 8 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Donegal count: Independent Thomas Pringle takes final seat". The Irish Times. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  20. ^ "IA presents Kenny with 'Charter for Change'". RTÉ News. 4 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Connolly and Pringle join I4C in April 2016". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  22. ^ "Donegal TD introduces legislation to keep water in public ownership". Donegal Now. 17 May 2016.
  23. ^ Moreau, Emer. "Give 16-year-olds the vote? TDs are set to debate a motion calling for a referendum on the move". Retrieved 23 June 2022.