O’Dea ‘threat to stability’

THE leader of the Green Party has said the stability of the Government would have been under threat if former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea had not stepped down.

Speaking in Cork, John Gormley gave a further insight into the meeting he held with the Taoiseach on Thursday evening ahead of the formal announcement that Mr O’Dea had resigned.

“Obviously the precise content of any conversation with the Taoiseach has to remain confidential but what I can say to you is that I outlined our concerns in detail and I indicated to the Taoiseach that in my view, Minister O’Dea’s position was untenable and the stability of the Government would be under threat as a consequence and it would prove a real distraction,” he said.

Asked if he thought the former defence minister would have gone if he had not spoken to the Taoiseach, he said that was a “matter for speculation”.

He would also not be drawn on whether he would have led his party out of Government if Mr O’Dea had remained. He said the “destabilising distraction” of Mr O’Dea’s activities had been removed and his party was now committed to the Government.

“We have a renewed programme for Government which is comprehensive in nature and which will get this country back up and working again and our focus is on creating jobs and ensuring that our public finances are brought back to a safe order,” he said.

“I would hope that it is the sort of Government that will provide real leadership for this country, ensuring that we get back on the right track. We have taken very difficult decisions and that is why stability in Government is required because there are further very difficult decisions to be made.”

The Green leader was asked whether he thinks the matter should be investigated by gardaí.

“As far as I’m concerned this matter is now closed. I’m saying that the minister has resigned, I’m talking about political issues here. The minister has paid a high price in terms of his own political career because he knew that this was proving to be a distraction from the business of Government and, as far as we’re concerned, the matter is now closed.

“It is a matter for the gardaí (whether they launch an investigation). This a serious matter and a minister has paid a very heavy political price. He had to resign and we need to move on from this. It is difficult personal chapter. It is very difficult for any individual to go through this.”

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