Cowen says O'Dea has his support


Taoiseach Brian Cowen today said the Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea has his support.

Speaking after an event in Dublin city centre this afternoon, Mr Cowen repeatedly referred to the passing of a Dáil vote of confidence in Mr O’Dea yesterday.

“He has my support, as I say. We had a confidence motion yesterday. It was passed, and that’s the position,” Mr Cowen said.

Asked if he had considered Mr O’Dea’s position, Mr Cowen said the vote of confidence was taken yesterday. “It was taken because a motion of no confidence was put down by Opposition parties, and as is normal you take up that challenge immediately and deal with it.”

Mr O’Dea had outlined his position and given an explanation which Mr Cowen said he accepted.

“There was a confidence vote in the Dáil yesterday. It was voted on 80-69 so that is the position. He outlined his position. I think the important point was that when it was clear that he had an inaccurate recollection of what he had said he immediately took action to rectify that, and I think that’s important.

“What he said is that the recollection he had is not the same as what he put in [the] affidavit and I believe him on that. His recollection was faulty and immediately it was brought to his attention he rectified that.”

Asked if he was in any way concerned about the position of the Green Party in Government, Mr Cowen said: “The Government motion yesterday was supported 80-69, and that’s the factual position.”

Mr Cowen described Mr O’Dea’s controversial remark to a Limerick-based journalist in the course of an interview as “obviously something that was best not said”.

“If you look at the text of what was said when he was indicating the ownership of an apartment where these things were going on, when it became clear that he was incorrect . . . he rectified it.

“He made it clear that it was not his intention to mislead in that way, and he rectified the situation and provided proper compensation for the individual concerned, and it was dealt with in that way.”

Mr Cowen said Mr O’Dea had been performing very well as Minister for Defence.

“And also the context of all that occurring was attacks that were being made on him, which were pretty severe.

“But it doesn’t take away from the fact that it was obviously something that was best not said. But once it became clear to him that he hadn’t proper recollection of what he said . . . he rectified it.”