Defence Minister Willie O’Dea is to face a no-confidence motion over allegations he perjured himself in a sworn statement, it emerged tonight.
The Limerick-based TD outlined in the Dáil why he denied in an affidavit that he told a local journalist a Sinn Féin councillor owned a property in the city used as a brothel.
Mr O’Dea said his recollection of what he said in the interview was mistaken, and that he corrected the error when he realised it.
He denied lying under oath.
“There has been much ill-informed, unfounded and mischievous comment in recent days,” the Defence Minister said.
“What has appeared has been comment masquerading as facts.”
Mr O’Dea was on his feet for five minutes after which Fine Gael tabled a confidence motion against him.
The Sinn Féin councillor Maurice Quinlivan brought proceedings against Mr O’Dea last December which was settled in the High Court.
Mr O’Dea said Mr Quinlivan agreed Mr O’Dea had no intention to mislead.
The Limerick TD said he had not lied under oath and did not recall making the remarks, which were recorded by the journalist for the Limerick Chronicle.
“When I later saw a transcript of the interview I saw that I had, contrary to my recollection, gone further in what I had said and what had been quoted in the newspaper,” Mr O’Dea said.
“I took the initiative. I went to my solicitor and immediately corrected my affidavit. I was not forced or pressed to do this. I did so of my own volition as I then knew that my original affidavit was wrong.
“I openly acknowledged and apologised for my own mistake and agreed a settlement in which the other party accepted that there was no intention to mislead.”
He said court evidence and testimony are routinely corrected without allegations and assertions of lying and perjury being levelled.
Mr O’Dea said the matter did not relate to his ministerial responsibilities or Government policies.
“It was borne out of heated political exchanges between me and the Sinn Féin candidate in the run up to the local elections in Limerick City,” Mr O’Dea said.