A CLAIM by Defence Minister Willie O’Dea that “wrong” information from gardaí in Limerick led to his false allegation that Sinn Féin councillor, Maurice Quinlivan was involved in running a brothel, has been greeted with disbelief by gardaí who were aware of the brothel investigation and journalists who covered the brothel story at Limerick District Court.
When the case was heard at Limerick District Court in January 2009, where three Brazilian women were prosecuted for running a brothel there was never any mention about the ownership of the apartment in Clancy Strand.
As one of the journalists who covered that case in court, I was approached by a woman as I left the courtroom, who told me “Quinlivan” owned the apartment. I never met this woman before or since. I subsequently made inquiries through a number of sources and each of these sources said Cllr Maurice Quinlivan had nothing to do with the apartment, but that in fact it was his brother Nessan Quinlivan who had the property.
Another journalist who covered the case was also told by his sources that Cllr Maurice Quinlivan had no connection to the apartment in Clancy Strand and that it was owned by Nessan Quinlivan.
There was never any suggestion from a range of sources that Nessan Quinlivan was aware what the tenants in his apartment were up to. And Limerick Leader reporter Mike Dwane whose taped interview in which Mr O’Dea made the false allegations got the same information from his sources.
Mr Dwane in yesterday’s Limerick Leader wrote: “The entire interview lasted all of four and a half minutes. I tried to corroborate this claim (about Maurice Quinlivan) with a Garda source and a ‘republican’ who would have no great grá for Sinn Féin. Both said it was Nessan Quinlivan’s apartment but knew nothing of Maurice Quinlivan having an interest in the property. Maurice Quinlivan said the same thing when I called the following morning, Tuesday, March 10.”
Cllr Quinlivan told Mike Dwane he was aware that dissident republicans and Mr O’Dea were involved in spreading the story.
Cllr Quinlivan told the reporter: “He (O’Dea) is obviously going around the town trying to slander me and is involved in every kind of dirty trick.”
In yesterday’s Limerick Leader, Mike Dwane set out how his credibility was at stake after Willie O’Dea made a false claim in his April 14, 2009, High Court affidavit.
In that affidavit, Mr O’Dea stated: “I most categorically and emphatically deny that I said to Mr Dwane that the plaintiff was a part owner of the said apartment. I did not at anytime say to any other person that the Plaintiff had any ownership of the apartment. Neither did I say at any time to any person that the Plaintiff had any involvement in the operation of the brothel.”
Mr Dwane wrote yesterday: “Now (the time of the affidavit denial) I suddenly had a credibility problem, which if I had not recorded the interview might have hung on my word against a minister’s in a court case. Politicians often accuse reporters of misquoting them or quoting them incorrectly or incompletely.
“Only last week, speaking on local radio, Minister O’Dea said The Irish Times had been guilty of ‘slight misinterpretation of maybe you’d call it poetic licence on behalf of the media’ over an interview he gave the paper on funding for regeneration in Limerick city.”
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