DEFENCE Minister Willie O’Dea has blamed the gardaí for supplying him with “wrong” information that led to him defaming a Sinn Féin councillor and facing calls for his resignation from cabinet.
It came as Green senator Dan Boyle bluntly declared he had no confidence in Mr O’Dea, despite his party colleagues voting to support the minister in the Dáil yesterday.
Mr Boyle’s comments, posted to his Twitter social networking account, hinted at the tensions within the Greens over the controversy, although the senator insisted he was speaking in a personal capacity.
“As regards to Minister O’Dea I don’t have confidence in him,” Mr Boyle wrote. “His situation is compromised. Probably be a few chapters in this story yet.”
The remarks came after heated scenes in the Dáil, in which the opposition accused Mr O’Dea of perjury and said the minister should resign or be sacked.
But Taoiseach Brian Cowen defended Mr O’Dea and the Government comfortably passed a motion of confidence in the minister by 80 votes to 69.
Green Minister Eamon Ryan also spoke in defence of Mr O’Dea and the junior coalition partners voted in support of their Fianna Fáil colleague.
However, the opposition claimed Mr Ryan’s speech was distinctly lukewarm, and that it was evident from his body language he did not believe “one word” of Mr O’Dea’s account.
Mr Boyle’s comments last night only heighten speculation about Green Party unease.
In an affidavit last April, Mr O’Dea denied making comments to the Limerick Chronicle suggesting Cllr Maurice Quinlivan owned an apartment that had been used as a brothel.
A recording of the interview proved that Mr O’Dea had, and he settled a legal action in December, apologising and paying damages to Mr Quinlivan.
An Garda Síochána stated last night: “We have no comment to make on this matter.”
Mr O’Dea insists he did not perjure himself, as he simply had a flawed recollection of the interview. He says he corrected his evidence as soon as he realised he had erred.
The Taoiseach said yesterday: “My understanding is that where there is no intention to mislead and the matter is corrected as soon as possible, there is no question of perjury.”
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