Willie? Won’t he? Resign? Gone at 9pm
The inevitable happened at 9 o’clock. The Taoiseach issued a statement saying he had accepted Willie’s resignation. It praised him for his contribution, made no reference really to the events that downed him.
The Greens issued a statement a few minutes later. John Gormley went further, outlining why the Greens insisted today on what they refused to insist on yesterday. They will suffer criticism for the change of heart.
Gormley’s statement read:
“Yesterday afternoon I met Willie O’Dea and he assured me that an article in today’s Limerick Leader would vindicate him. The article published today does not do that. In fact it does the opposite.
“At the very conclusion of yesterday’s Dail debate Mr O’Dea said his original actions in the matter were based on information given to him by An Garda Siochana. We were very concerned by this behaviour by a member of Government.
“We have also taken the view that Willie O’Dea’s comments and conduct during yesterday’s debate and in subsequent media appearances were inappropriate.
“All these factors have led us to conclude that Willie O’Dea could not continue as a member of this Government. The issue has already taken up too much energy and attention at a time when crucial economic challenges face the Irish people.
“We are committed to continuing to work with our partners in government to face those challenges.”
The Minister was gobbled up by Sean O’Rourke on the News at One. If you ever want to hear what waterboarding sounds like, listen back to the interview. O’Dea sounded abject in the face of O’Rourke’s onslaught. He was finally forced to make a puiblic apology for his slur, something that he and all his Fianna Fail colleagues had failed to do about now (the only apology he had offered was the legal one in court on 21 December which he had no choice but to make as well as pay over a big chunk of change).
He did sound unlike the Willie O’Dea of old. Abject and defeated. His worst moment was when he protested that he was a victim too. At least he apologised. It was something he should have done a long time ago rather than brazening it out with smokescreens and diversionary tactics and trading insults with the opposition in the Dail and his Sunday Indo column.
Perhaps, a more contrite apology earlier might have saved his skin.