A TD who asked in a parliamentary question “if a tax is being introduced” but hid part of the question which related to cyclists to cycling said he did so to protect the identity of a constituent who asked him to raise the question.
“The reason the question is contained in ‘details supplied’ is to protect the identity of the Constituent who asked me to raise the question with the Minister on their behalf,” said Terence Flanagan by email on Friday. The Renua TD represents the Dublin Bay North Constituency — the same area as independent TD Finian McGrath, who is known to regularly raise the issue of people misbehaving on bicycles.
The independent parlmentry records website kildarestreet.com says ,”When it appears in a parliamentary question, ‘details supplied’ usually means the questioner is asking on behalf of a specific named individual or company from his or her constituency. The personal details of the constituent do not appear in the transcript.”
While it is widely accepted that the “details supplied” measure is used to protect personal details of constituents, in the question asked by Flanagan, the measure hides more than just personal details.
The Renua TD asked: “To ask the Minister for Finance if a tax is being introduced (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
It’s only in the response from finance minister Michael Noonan where it is revealed that the question relates to cycling.
The minister’s department wrote: “In general, the regulation of compliance with the rules of the road, including such compliance by cyclists, does not come under the responsibility of my Department. I have no plans regarding the introduction of new tax measures relating to cycling.”
After he told us on Friday that he used the measure to protect the identity of the constituent, we asked in the interest of transparency, is there any chance that he could reveal the question without giving away personal details of the person who asked it. We are awaiting a response to this request.