'A Cabinet whose credibility is in tatters'


The following is the full statement by Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny TD on the resignation of Minister for Defence, Willie O’Dea

“Resigning his position in Cabinet must have been very difficult for Willie O’Dea and a very trying event for his family. However, Willie O'Dea's resignation was an inevitable consequence of his swearing of a false affidavit before the High Court.

“The refusal of the Taoiseach and his colleagues in government to demand any accountability for this behaviour was the reason that I tabled a motion of no confidence in Deputy O'Dea on Tuesday night.

“Now that he has bowed to the inevitable, he leaves behind a cabinet whose credibility is in tatters. Despite knowing the full facts, the Taoiseach and his Fianna Fail and Green ministers queued up just yesterday to vehemently support Deputy O'Dea, to assert that he had done nothing wrong other than a simple human mistake, and to vote complete confidence in him.

“This debacle raises fundamental questions about the Taoiseach's willingness to enforce proper standards of behaviour in his Government. Despite knowing the facts of this situation since December, Brian Cowen apparently didn't even ask for an explanation until the issue became the subject of a newspaper editorial earlier this week. The tenor of his subsequent defence of Willie O'Dea, during which the Taoiseach said that Deputy O'Dea had met his standard, casts serious doubt about this Taoiseach's understanding of the type of conduct that should be required of cabinet ministers. His handling of this crisis leaves a huge question mark over his judgement and credibility as Taoiseach.

“This affair also leaves the government in disarray. The main partner has confirmed that the Fianna Fail code of ethics has been safely passed on to this generation of the party.

“The junior partners, the Greens, have been emphatically and decisively humiliated and have confirmed their role as Fianna Fail's mudguard.

“Finally, the third leg of this shaky stool, the remnants of the PDs, have confirmed that any sense of values that existed when that party was founded have been well and truly abandoned in favour of retaining power at any cost.”