Boyle's 'no confidence' in Minister Willie O'Dea

Wed, Feb 17, 2010, 00:00

Green Party chairman Dan Boyle said tonight he has 'no confidence' in Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea, despite the motion of confidence in the Minister passed by the Dail this evening with the support of Green Party TDs.

The Green Party Senator used his Twitter account to convey his view and said the Limerick TD's position "is compromised".

Senator Boyle said:

“As regards to Minister O’Dea I don’t have confidence in him. His situation is compromised. Probably be a few chapters in this story yet.”

Sen Boyle said he was unhappy at what transpired tonight in the Dáil. "Not happy with what happened today. Believe we bounced into supporting mottion (sic). Next week would have been fine."

The Government won a motion of confidence in Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea earlier this evening by 80 votes in favour and 69 against.

The decision to hold the motion in the Dáil this afternoon came after the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny announced his intention earlier this week to table a motion of no confidence in the Minister, to be taken in Opposition time next week.

Opening the motion this afternoon, Taoiseach Brian Cowen defended Mr O'Dea, saying that he "had made a genuine mistake". The Taoiseach was critical of the Opposition's intention to table a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Defence.

"The criticism of him [Mr O'Dea] does not arise from anything he has done during the course of his duties as Minister for Defence," said Mr Cowen.

"I've heard people on the Opposition benches trying to propagate the myth that the Minister is in breach of the Cabinet code of conduct, but this is once again a case of political discourse from the Opposition benches generating more heat than light."

Describing him as "the best Minister for Defence seen in recent times, " Mr Cowen said Mr O'Dea's actions again stated that he did not believe there had been any breaches of the law or codes of conduct by the Minister.

"I want to say clearly that it does not serve this Oireachtas well to imply ill-founded allegations of perjury in a coarse attempt to secure political advantage. Let's be clear, perjury does not arise here, and it is despicable that some have suggested it," he said.

Also speaking in the Dáil, Mr O'Dea said he came before the House last night to refute "the baseless, cynical and malicious allegations" made against him by Opposition parties.

"No sooner had I reached the end of my statement last night but Deputy Kenny was on his feet declaring that Fine Gael would table a motion of no confidence in me. Fine Gael had decided this before they had heard a word of what I had to say. A classic example of the Ready, Fire, Aim school of political tactics that has become Deputy Kenny's stock in trade," Mr O'Dea said.

The Minister continued: "I don't seriously expect any of the deputies on the Fine Gael benches to vote confidence in me - indeed I'm not sure I'd welcome the thought of any of the members opposite getting behind me."

Stating that he had declared the error and brought it to the attention of others, Mr O'Dea said: "If Fine Gael and Enda Kenny's idea of standards, judgement and ethics is to punish those who admit honest mistakes, then there are many, many honest, decent and law abiding people who should fear the prospect of Enda Kenny ever becoming Taoiseach."

Mr O'Dea concluded: "I value my good name and my reputation. . . . I do not expect praise from the benches opposite - but I do not think it is unreasonable to expect some level of propriety and fairness. It seems I am wrong to expect even that."

Earlier today, the Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore expressed dissatisfaction with the statement of personal explanation in the Dáil last night by Mr O’Dea about the sworn statement he made to the High Court which he later accepted was untrue.

The statement focused on the background to Mr O'Dea's court settlement with Limerick Sinn Féin councillor Maurice Quinlivan who had sued him for defamation.

In his Dáil statement last night, Mr O’Dea insisted he had not lied under oath or “admitted to lying under oath” as had been claimed in recent days.

“I made a mistake,” said the Minister, who added the other party to the court action that led to the controversy had accepted this in the settlement agreed in court.

Mr O’Dea said a defamation action taken against him by Mr Quinlivan had been settled by mutual agreement in the High Court on December 21st. The case followed on from remarks he had made in an interview with a journalist from the Limerick Chronicle.