Defence Minister follows in footsteps of fallen giants
ELEVEN ministers have bowed out of ministerial office since 1964 and returned to life on the backbenches.
All were irreparably damaged in the eyes of their superiors and colleagues.
Last night, Willie O'Dea became the 12th minister to make an exit. He followed the path of political giants such as Bertie Ahern, Ray Burke and Michael Lowry who left amid controversy and unanswered questions.
High-profile resignations include:
Hugh Coveney (1995)
Fine Gael Defence and Marine Minister resigned in May 1995 after it emerged he had asked in a telephone call with Bord Gais, the semi-state gas company, if his family firm of quantity surveyors would be considered for a lucrative contract.
Phil Hogan (1995)
Sitting Fine Gael TD resigned as junior minister for Public Expenditure and the Office of Public Works after the leaking of sections of the Budget. He admitted that the Budget had been faxed in error from his office to newspapers four hours before the budgetary announcements.
Bobby Molloy (2002)
Progressive Democrats junior minister resigned from politics in 2002 after it emerged that someone representing him had made approaches to a judge in connection with a rape case.
Ray Burke (1997)
Foreign Affairs Minister, resigned having denied accusations of receiving a house at a knock-down price from builders Joe McGowan and Tom Brennan, who had also made four payments totalling STG£160,000 into a number of secret offshore accounts opened by the TD.
Ivor Callely (2005)
Junior minister for transport resigned after it emerged that John Paul Construction had paid for the painting of his house in Clontarf in the early 1990s.
Michael Lowry (1996)
Former Fine Gael TD resigned as Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications after reports about renovations to his home being paid for by Dunnes Stores.
Bertie Ahern (2008)
The 'Teflon Taoiseach' resigned from office as the Mahon Tribunal probed his financial dealings.
Contradictions emerged between his evidence and that of his former secretary Grainne Carruth. Before returning to the backbenches, he declared: "I have never done anything to corrupt my office . . . I know in my heart of hearts that I have done no wrong and wronged no one." The tribunal's report is currently being finalised.