Regan wants O'Dea to be held to account for 'lying on oath'

 

SEANAD REPORT:EUGENE REGAN, Fine Gael spokesman on justice, demanded to know if Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea had been held to account by the Taoiseach for lying under oath in a High Court case.

Cathaoirleach Pat Moylan intervened to say that Senator Regan was making very serious charges.

Mr Regan: “The case has concluded and it is on his own admission and in an apology to the court last December . . . The fact is that the Minister most categorically and emphatically denied that he made an allegation about ownership of a brothel in Limerick by a candidate in the local elections. That is why Judge Cooke did not grant an injunction in that case. The court was misled. The Minister, when the tape of the journalist’s interview was produced, admitted that he made a false statement and apologised to the court. But the reality is that he only did so when he was found out.”

Mr Regan said he was asking Seanad Leader Donie Cassidy whether Mr O’Dea had been held to account by the leader of Fianna Fáil. Perjury went to the heart of the criminal justice system, as had been indicated by a judge in Limerick last year when a man was jailed for a year after withdrawing his evidence in a criminal trial.

Reacting to Mr Regan’s contention, Mr Cassidy said Mr O’Dea had been an excellent public representative. “The people of Limerick are very fortunate to have such a capable person.”

He noted the concerns of the Senator, and also what Mr Regan, as an Irishman, had been doing in relation to the National Asset Management Agency. Mr Cassidy was apparently referring to the formal complaint made by Mr Regan to the European Commission regarding the size of Nama.

Mr Cassidy said he agreed with Paschal Donohoe (FG) about the need to get credit flowing. “So the quicker that Nama can be got up and running the better . . . I hope that members on the Opposition benches will speak to Senator Regan in relation to this.”

Mr Regan asked why the Government had delayed five weeks in submitting the scheme to Europe.

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Oireachtas members were among the first victims of protest action by public service unions over pay cuts, Terry Leyden (FF) said. The system whereby public representatives could speedily obtain passports for constituents in emergency situations had become defunct. This was affecting people who had to make travel arrangements at short notice or who had documents stole.

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The Government side voted down an attempt by Fine Gael to get an emergency debate on disclosures by The Irish Timesof “shameful, inadequate safeguarding” of people with disabilities in residential care.