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Under-fire Ming admits a second points scandal

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Luke 'Ming' Flanagan,Independent deputy for Roscommon-South Leitrim  at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 5/3/13

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan,Independent deputy for Roscommon-South Leitrim at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 5/3/13

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan,Independent deputy for Roscommon-South Leitrim at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 5/3/13

LUKE 'Ming' Flanagan's reputation as a TD was in tatters today as colleagues accused him of "outrageous behaviour".

IT EMERGED that he had written a personal letter which led to penalty points being quashed from his driving licence.

The Independent deputy has blamed a senior garda and a council officials for invalidating his driving offences.

But his 'blame everyone else' approach has drawn criticism from all corners of the Dail, with his independent colleague Finian McGrath describing his behaviour as "disgraceful".

The Roscommon TD has confessed to writing the letter after being caught while driving on his mobile phone.

He made the revelation in the Dail speech during which he admitted to having points removed on two occasions.

He claimed he wrote a letter to gardai after being handed points in June 2011 while he was his way to the Dail.

He said he did so after he bumped into a garda sergeant who "insisted" he write to have the points wiped out.

"He told me that I was covered under the rule in relation to travelling to the Dail. I informed him that there was no point but he insisted that I write to the station and explain. I did so and no points were added to my licence," he said.

The controversial politician, who was part of a campaign to expose people who had penalty points removed, also told about a second occasion in which he had points removed.

He revealed that just hours after being caught driving while on a mobile phone in December 2011, he received a phone call from a senior council official who said the issue had been "sorted out".

Deputy Flanagan says he will appeal to the authorities to have the points reinstated and called on the official in question to come forward over the matter.

Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary accused Flanagan of portraying a 'holier than thou attitude'. "Everybody, regardless of who they are or what job they do is and should be subject to the law," he told the Herald.

Fine Gael Dublin South TD, Olivia Mitchell, said that Deputy Flanagan seemed to have 'a support network' when it comes to penalty points.

Finian McGrath, a Dublin North Central TD, said his independent colleague's behaviour was 'outrageous'.

"I'm furious at what Ming did. It's simply not acceptable. It's entirely wrong and I wholeheartedly condemn it," he said.

Meanwhile, Independent TD Mick Wallace, today said Ming "made a mistake and he's got to learn from it".

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