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Tom Parlon

In office
2002 – 2007

In office
6 June 2002 – 14 June 2007
Preceded by Charles Flanagan
Succeeded by Charles Flanagan

Born 19 August 1953 (1953-08-19) (age 56)
Nationality Irish
Political party Progressive Democrats

Tom Parlon (born 19 August 1953) is a former farmer, Irish Progressive Democrats politician and lobbyist. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for Laois–Offaly from 2002 to 2007 and was also the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works during the same time.

Tom Parlon was educated at Coolderry National School, Roscrea CBS, and Gurteen Agricultural College. He was elected to Dáil Éireann for the first time in the 2002 general election as a Progressive Democrats candidate. He was appointed Minister of State on one of his first days in the Dáil. Previous to being a politician Parlon held a number of senior positions in the Irish Farmers' Association, including Deputy-President (1991–1993) and President (1997–2001). In the period before the 2002 general election, it was some time before he could make up his mind whether to stand for Fine Gael or the Progressive Democrats. He became President of the Progressive Democrats party in September 2006 after Michael McDowell took over as party leader. He lost his seat in the 2007 general election despite running one of the most expensive campaigns in the election.

He announced on 10 July 2007, that he was quitting politics and would not seek a nomination to Seanad Éireann, or to contest the leadership of the Progressive Democrats. Instead he took up the position of Director General of the Irish Construction Industry Federation, receiving an annual salary of €250,000.[1]


Complaint to Standards Commission

A complaint about Parlon appearing in an advertisement for animal feed was made to the Standards in Public Office Commission. The Commission advised that it is not appropriate for a serving office holder to be associated with the commercial promotion of particular products unconnected with the official duties of that person.[2]

Further Complaints

In December 2003 Parlon was attacked by fellow ministers for claiming the decentralisation plan being implemented in Laois was because of his decision, when in fact he had no input into the plan at all and was only a junior by-stander. Also in taking up his position as Director General of the Construction Industry Federation in 2007, after having a prominent position in the Office of Public Works have led to accusations of a conflict of interest..

In 2008, Parlon publicly took credit for effecting a policy reversal by the Department of Finance on the procurement procedure for State building projects. After his lobbying, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan agreed to allow €150m of water service projects to go ahead under old "costs plus" contracts rather than the "fixed price" contracts. In fact, the reversal was due to an administrative decision amongst local authorities and not as a consequence of any lobbying.

CIF career

Parlon's tenure as Director General of the Construction Industry Federation has been widely regarded as a failure as it has coincided with the collapse of both the contracting and developing sectors of the Irish construction sector.

In May 2009, the Sunday Independent newspaper reported that Parlon was raising a warchest from developers to oppose the formation of the National Asset Management Agency and potentially take a legal action against it. Developers €2m Nama warchest.

He hoped that each member of CIF would pay €2,000 into the fund. The foundation of a sub-committee within CIF and the collection of the €2,000 levy was opposed by the Irish Property Council which stated: It is not understood if or how a sub-committee of the CIF has a mandate which allows it represent property developers in all of the current areas of concern as against the interests of the construction industry as a whole[3]".

On 7 July 2009, in an interview with Pat Kenny, Mr Parlon referred to the TEEU Trade Union and striking electricians as "lunatics"[4]"."

Nonetheless, by 12 July, Parlon and the Electrical Contractors Association had agreed to pay the striking electricians a pay increase of 4.9%, rather than a pay cut of 10% which he had publicly demanded [5].



  • Laois Nationalist - 2003/12/11: Parlon attacked over ‘opportunist’ tactics
  • Irish Independent 2008/10/06 -Parlon wins u-turn with €150m deal for builders

External links

Preceded by
Charles Flanagan
(Fine Gael)
Progressive Democrats Teachta Dála for Laois–Offaly
Succeeded by
Charles Flanagan
(Fine Gael)
Political offices
Preceded by
Martin Cullen
Minister of State at the Department of Finance
Succeeded by
Noel Ahern

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