The resignation of Robert Troy was inevitable, and the “drip feeding” of information in recent days had not helped, Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik has said.
In a statement issued by Fianna Fáil shortly after 9pm on Wednesday, Longford-Westmeath TD Robert Troy said a “number of errors” made by him “directly or indirectly” had led him to decide to resign as minister.
Mr Troy said the errors he made in the declaration of his property interests were “genuine errors and human errors and were not intentional. I hold myself to a high standard and that is the reason I have taken this decision of my own counsel”.
In a statement issued after the resignation was announced, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he accepted the decision “with regret” and paid tribute to Mr Troy’s work in the Department of Enterprise.
Government sources said the Taoiseach did not seek his resignation, sources said, though political pressure had been building on Mr Troy for several days.
Robert Troy profile: Hard-working politician and unapologetic landlord downed by property interests
Robert Troy’s departure shows the tendency to tolerate errors in Irish political life is diminishing
[ Robert Troy resigns as minister of State after property interests controversy ]
Ms Bacik told Newstalk Breakfast on Thursday morning that she viewed Mr Troy’s departure as inevitable unless he could provide details to clarify the situation.
Ms Bacik said the “catalogue of omissions” had illustrated the “really serious careless” dismissal by him of mechanisms that had been put in place to guarantee standards in public office.
She said it was no longer tenable for Mr Troy to stay on in office as a junior minister when Green Party leader Eamon Ryan did not express confidence in him on Wednesday and had called on the Standards In Public Office Commission (Sipo) to investigate the matter.
The situation had become a distraction at a time when there was a housing crisis and a cost-of-living crisis, she added.
On the same programme Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn — a member of the procedure, privilege and oversight committee — said there were now serious questions for the Taoiseach and Tánaiste who had “stood by their man”.
They had not questioned Mr Troy nor demanded evidence from him that could have cleared up the matter, he said.
The judgment of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste was “appalling” when there was a housing crisis that had been brought about because of the policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, Mr Mac Lochlainn said, adding: “There are serious questions over how the Taoiseach and Tánaiste handled this affair.”
On Wednesday night Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said in a tweet that the “disastrous” Government housing policy will not change “simply with the exit of one minister”.
“We need to see the back of the whole govt,” she tweeted. “Only with a change of govt will we see housing policy designed for workers and families, for the people. FF/FG look after vested interests. Always.”
The resignation came after intense scrutiny of Mr Troy’s property investments in recent days. He told RTÉ on Tuesday he had 11 properties and apologised for the failure to fully declare the extent of his property holdings in the Dáil register of interests, in which TDs are required to declare their assets.
In recent days, journalists have peppered Mr Troy’s office with questions about his property dealings. On Wednesday night, The Irish Times reported that residents in Phibsboro in Dublin had repeatedly complained to Mr Troy about the state of one of his rental properties there.
Mr Troy said he remained “more than happy to answer any questions” that Sipo or the RTB has about his declarations and “will of course give a full account in the Dáil if required once it returns”.
Meanwhile, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said Mr Troy made the right decision to resign as the focus on him was distracting from the work of Government.
Mr O’Gorman told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that in the context of the errors made by Mr Troy “and there were a significant number of them”, he [Troy] saw they were going to be a focus at a time when there were major political issues that needed to be addressed. It [the resignation] was the right thing to do.”
When asked if the Taoiseach and Tánaiste had been wrong to express their support for Mr Troy, Mr O’Gorman said Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar had wanted to give Mr Troy the opportunity to go before the Dáil to explain, but as the Dáil would not be sitting for a number of weeks, the focus on him would distract from the wider work of Government.
Mr O’Gorman said Mr Troy had been “a good Minister and a good colleague.”
With regard to Mr Troy’s statement in which he said he had been vilified because he was a landlord, Mr O’Gorman said he did not think anyone should have to apologise because they were a landlord.