Ming: why I'm giving up dope
Independent TD says he wants to protect his family
NEW Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan insisted last night his decision to give up cannabis wasn't due to inquiries from gardai.
Mr Flanagan's move comes after a Fianna Fail councillor, John Coonan from Kilkenny, lodged a formal complaint to gardai this week about Mr Flanagan's cannabis use. Mr Coonan lodged the complaint in the garda station in Kilkenny city on Tuesday, a day before Mr Flanagan's announcement that he was giving up using the drug while in Ireland.
The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said he had not been contacted by gardai since the complaint was lodged.
"If they're going to investigate me, they'd have to investigate other politicians like Brian Cowen, Leo Varadkar and Eoin Ryan who admitted smoking cannabis in the past," Mr Flanagan told the Irish Independent.
Mr Flanagan previously admitted smoking cannabis, and said he grew his own, but said yesterday he is giving it up until it is legalised in Ireland for the sake of his family.
However, he says he will still smoke cannabis when he goes abroad.
"The reason why I have smoked cannabis is basically because I enjoy smoking it and it isn't to try and attract attention," he told Today FM earlier yesterday.
"At this stage, it has become inevitable, in order to protect my wife and my two children, that I no longer smoke cannabis in the Republic of Ireland.
"Because if I continue to do it, it is inevitable that they will have to arrest me, come to my house, search my house and basically turn my family's life upside down."
He said he could end up getting a six-month prison sentence, which would bar him from sitting in the Dail.
"Eventually I will get taken out of Dail Eireann and people who want cannabis legalised wouldn't have a voice in Dail Eireann," he added.