ULTIMATUMS or threats to pull out of Government were not made during yesterday’s discussions with the Taoiseach, the Green Party leader, John Gormley, said last night.
However the junior coalition party did make it clear to Brian Cowen and Fianna Fáil that the position of Willie O’Dea was no longer tenable.
Last night’s resignation by the minister for defence was “inevitable” according to Mr Gormley, following his discussions throughout the day with Brian Cowen as well as Green TDs, senators and party members.
Mr Gormley insisted he was not put under any pressure from within the Green Party to demand the resignation of Willie O’Dea or collapse the Government.
He said the parliamentary party “decided it was an issue that needed to be tackled” and after talking to party members “it became very clear that this was a very, very difficult issue”.
The Green leader then went to the Taoiseach and said the controversy surrounding Mr O’Dea’s untrue statement to a court was proving to be a “major distraction” from the business of Government.
“I’m not in the business of issuing threats of ultimatums. I want this Government to work,” said Mr Gormley.
“We had a discussion, it was a very fruitful discussion, if you can call it that, and we decided this was the best course of action under the circumstances,” he said.
Just a day earlier, the Greens had supported a Dáil motion of confidence in Mr O’Dea. But Mr Gormley said they were “caught by surprise” by the motion as their senior partners in Government had not given them enough time to gather as a party and consider the issues involved.
He spoke to Mr O’Dea before the vote and was informed that a newspaper report in the Limerick Leader the following day would vindicate his position.
“Unfortunately that didn’t happen,” said Mr Gormley.
He added that they were “concerned” with Mr O’Dea’s behaviour when he claimed in the Dáil he made the allegation that his political opponent was running a brothel based on information provided by a garda.
Mr Gormley said: “We’re interested in continuing now with this Government, ensuring that stability is maintained and that we continue with the work that we set out to do.”
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