Willie Penrose

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Willie Penrose
Willie Penrose 2005 cropped.jpg
Penrose pictured in 2005
Chairperson of the Labour Parliamentary Party
Assumed office
29 February 2016
Leader Joan Burton
Brendan Howlin
Preceded by Jack Wall
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
In office
9 March 2011 – 15 November 2011
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Jan O'Sullivan
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
May 2007
Constituency Longford–Westmeath
In office
November 1992 – May 2007
Constituency Westmeath
Personal details
Born (1956-08-01) 1 August 1956 (age 60)
Ballynacargy, Westmeath, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
(1969–2011), (2013–)
Other political
Independent (2011–13)
Spouse(s) Anne Fitzsimons
Children 3
Alma mater University College Dublin,
King's Inns

Willie Penrose (born 18 August 1956) is an Irish Labour Party politician.[1] He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Longford–Westmeath constituency since May 2007, having previously served as a TD for the Westmeath constituency from 1992-2007. Minister of State for Housing and Planning from March to November 2011, he resigned his position and also the Labour Party whip over the closure of an army barracks.[2]

Early life[edit]

Penrose was born in Ballynacargy, County Westmeath, and educated at St. Mary's CBS, Mullingar; Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar; Multyfarnham Agricultural College; University College Dublin (UCD), and the King's Inns. At UCD, he studied Agricultural Science, graduating in 1979 with a bachelor's degree and after graduation, with a colleague, formed an agricultural consultancy firm in Mullingar. In 1986, Penrose took up the position of advisor to the Minister of State at the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Tourism, Michael Moynihan, resigning from the agricultural consultancy to do so.

Political career[edit]

Early days[edit]

In 1984, Penrose was co-opted on to Westmeath County Council, and a year later, he ran in the local elections, winning his seat in the Mullingar Lough Owel constituency by a margin of just six votes. In the 1991 local elections, he topped the poll in the Mullingar Rural Area.[citation needed]

Dáil Éireann: 1992–present[edit]

He qualified as a barrister in 1990 before entering into national politics. At the 1992 general election he was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for the Westmeath constituency.[3] On that occasion the Labour Party won a record 33 Dáil seats, a feat that was surpassed at the 2011 general election.

In 2002, Penrose was a candidate for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. Although he was part of a joint ticket with Pat Rabbitte, who won the leadership comfortably, he was narrowly defeated for the deputy leadership by Liz McManus, polling 1,636 votes to McManus' 1,728.

Minister of State: 2011[edit]

On 10 March 2011, he was appointed as Minister of State for Housing and Planning.

On 15 November 2011, he announced his resignation as Minister of State due to his opposition to the Government's decision to close Columb Barracks in Mullingar.[4] Penrose said: "I understand and appreciate that significant efforts were made by my Labour colleagues in Government, who fully understood the depths of my feelings in this regard, to resolve this matter, but to no avail."[5][6] He also resigned the Labour parliamentary party whip.[2]


Penrose rejoined the parliamentary Labour Party in October 2013.[7] He was narrowly re-elected to the Dáil at the 2016 general election, the final of just seven Labour TDs returned.


  1. ^ "Mr. Willie Penrose". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 19 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Cullen, Paul; Minihan, Mary (16 November 2011). "Minister's resignation increases fears over budget cuts". The Irish Times. 
  3. ^ "Willie Penrose". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 19 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Penrose quits on barracks issue". The Irish Times. 15 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Penrose quits Cabinet over barracks closure". RTÉ News. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Labour's Penrose resigns from Government over barracks closure". Irish Independent. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Penrose welcomed 'back into Labour fold' by Gilmore". TheJournal.ie. 7 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

New constituency Labour Party Teachta Dála for Westmeath
Constituency abolished
New constituency Labour Party Teachta Dála for Longford–Westmeath
Political offices
New office Minister of State for Housing and Planning
Succeeded by
Jan O'Sullivan