Government stability 'threatened' by O'Dea fallout, says Gormley

Government stability 'threatened' by O'Dea fallout, says Gormley

Green Party leader John Gormley today revealed the stability of the Government was threatened during the fallout from Willie O’Dea’s brothel slur.

Just hours before the defence minister dramatically quit, the junior coalition partner warned Taoiseach Brian Cowen the Limerick TD’s position was untenable.

Mr O’Dea later bowed to severe pressure and pulled out of Government despite securing the full confidence of the Cabinet.

Mr Gormley said: “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 was under threat as a consequence and would prove a distraction.

“I think the Taoiseach did recognise the gravity of the situation and did act accordingly.”

Mr O’Dea resigned amid allegations of perjury after smearing councillor Maurice Quinlivan by linking him with two “ladies of the night” and then denying it to the High Court.

He maintained the claim – made in a taped interview to a journalist last March - was given to him by a garda.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has confirmed the allegation a member of the force leaked the information will be examined.

“I’d be very loathe to involve An Garda Síochána in any political debate that has been going on in recent days,” said the Commissioner.

“I’m conscious that a complaint was made yesterday ... and I’m also conscious of remarks that were made in relation to Limerick.

“Having said that An Garda Síochána will also do its duty and in the next few days we will be examining in the cold light of day and in a calm way, because the debate has been considerably heated in recent days, we will examine that to see if there is any action required.”

Last December Mr O’Dea retracted the allegations and paid undisclosed damages to Mr Quinlivan.

When the controversy hit the headlines again this week the poll-topping former minister launched a defiant defence claiming he had never contemplated resigning before describing the unfounded allegations as “chit-chat” and a “silly, a stupid mistake”.

While Government ministers backed a motion of confidence in Mr O’Dea on Wednesday night, Green Party Green chairman Senator Dan Boyle announced on Twitter and Facebook that he was no confidence in the then minister.

The Greens subsequently met for three hours in Leinster House while Mr Gormley and Mr Cowen crisis held talks, forcing the government to make a damaging U-turn.

The Taoiseach is expected to announce a new defence minister next week.

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