Limerick Mayor declines to comment over crash controversy

Limerick Mayor declines to comment over crash controversy

By David Raleigh

The Fianna Fáil Mayor of the Limerick Metropolitan District, Jerry O'Dea, has declined to comment on speculation surrounding a road crash he was involved in but for which he was not prosecuted.

At a meeting of the city's Metropolitan District Council this morning, the mayor was invited to make a more detailed statement regarding the controversy.

AAA Councillor, Cian Prendiville asked mayor O'Dea: "Mayor I'd like to invite you to make a statement now to refute the allegations on the media that you were over the blood alcohol limit at the time of your car crash on December 11 2014, and that the reason you faced no conviction was that you were not drink driving and did nothing wrong."

"This issue has caused a lot of speculation and concern, and hangs over you and the council, and could be cleared up here and now by you making such a statement," Cllr Prendiville added.

The mayor declined to make any comment.

Cllr Prendiville said he was criticised by other members of the council for raising the issue at the meeting.

On October 8 last, Mayor O'Dea issued a second statement regarding the matter after it emerged an internal Garda inquiry was underway into why he was not prosecuted.

In the statement Mr O'Dea "unreservedly apologised" for any controversy caused.

In the statement he said that, before he was elected mayor last June, he contacted Gardaí to check if he was likely to face any charges.

This seemed to contradict an earlier statement by the Mayor in which he said: "Following the accident I cooperated fully with An Garda Síochána and subsequently made no further contact with An Garda Síochána about the issue."

Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin had asked the mayor to make a more detailed statement about the matter following his first statement.

It is unclear if Mr Martin is happy with the mayor's statement.

Mr O'Dea said in his last statement on October 8: "I want to confirm that I was involved in a road traffic accident in December 2014. I was driving my own car and was alone when I had to swerve to avoid another car."

"My car overturned and the Gardaí and Fire Brigade attended the scene. No one was injured in this accident apart from myself.

"I want to reiterate and emphasise that I cooperated fully with the Gardaí at all times and that I made no effort to influence the Gardaí whatsoever," the statement said.

"Before I was elected Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick I enquired about the status of the accident. I understood that there would be no proceedings in relation to this matter," the statement added.

"I now understand an internal Garda investigation is ongoing and this should be allowed to be completed. I very much regret the incident and unreservedly apologise for any controversy caused."

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