Harney pays tribute and says party should reflect on situation

 

The Tánaiste, Ms Harney, has paid tribute to her party colleague Mr Bobby Molloy, saying she "couldn't have imagined a worse end to a very honourable and distinguished career than this".

She had spoken by telephone to the former Minister of State a number of times yesterday. "He is naturally very upset. So am I."

Speaking to The Irish Times, she said the Progressive Democrats would be running a replacement candidate in Mr Molloy's Galway West constituency, although she was not thinking of who it would be at present.

"I just think over the next couple of days we should take stock and reflect on what's happened. I don't want to make any rash decisions, nor would the party, I think, out of respect to Bobby Molloy.

"It's important to respond in a dignified fashion and not to be rushing out to find alternatives. It would be very difficult to find somebody to find somebody to fill his shoes.

"He was an enormously successful and honourable politician and a huge asset to the party, and a really decent and honourable person. We looked to him on so many occasions for his experience and his sense of values for advice and guidance."

Asked whether she stood over her comment last Tuesday that what Mr Molloy did was not a resigning matter, Ms Harney said: "Bobby Molloy is 37 years in politics. I am not going to call on someone who is 37 years in politics to resign. He has always been passionate about doing the right thing, as he has done on this occasion."

She said neither Mr Molloy nor herself were aware on Tuesday that an approach had been made from the Department of Justice to Mr Justice O'Sullivan. She said they were also "totally confused" by the judge's comments about a request for him to call Mr Molloy at home.

"Bobby was adamant that that didn't happen. He didn't ask for that to happen. He never sought himself to talk to the judge.

"It's a most unfortunate, unhappy event and a dreadful end to his career."