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Minister Willie O’Dea has abused democracy and the courts and should resign – Ó Caoláin

16 February, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that Defence Minister Willie O’Dea abused both democracy and the courts and should resign. He said his “continuing defence of the indefensible” made his position untenable.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“What has been forgotten in the controversy over Defence Minister Willie O’Dea is that the falsehood he swore in an affidavit to the High Court was in the context of an election.

“Last year prior to the local elections Minister O’Dea made a false accusation against Sinn Féin candidate, now Councillor, Maurice Quinlivan. Maurice sought an injunction in the High Court to prevent the Minister repeating the accusation. The High Court refused the injunction on the basis of the Minister’s affidavit which falsely swore that he never uttered the defamatory statement. In other words he misled a High Court judge into refusing the injunction at that crucial time.

“This was the situation at the time of the local elections in June. Our candidate had to fight that election with the Minister’s false accusation hanging over him. Many people thought that because Maurice had lost the application for a High Court injunction he had lost the action for defamation.

“Minister O’Dea subsequently changed his story when the tape-recording of his interview was revealed. But the damage had been done during an election and it was only in December that Maurice succeeded in his defamation case. The Minister was forced to withdraw his comments and to apologise.

“I do not believe Minister O’Dea when he says that he forgot he made the defamatory remarks. I believe he has abused the democratic system and the courts and should resign. His continuing defence of the indefensible makes his position untenable. He should resign as Minister and if he does not do so the Taoiseach should dismiss him.

“How can people in this State have confidence in a Cabinet Minister who has acted in this way? How can the people of Limerick have confidence in such a Minister who has also presided over record unemployment in the Mid-West region and the virtual collapse of the long-promised Limerick regeneration?” ENDS

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