Saturday 25 November 2017

O'Dea goes to ground after being left 'frazzled'

Aine de Paor

Willie O'Dea yesterday went to ground after telling friends that the furore surrounding his resignation had left him "frazzled".

The former Defence Minister was conspicuous by his absence in Limerick yesterday and was not taking calls -- the only text reply he sent said simply "out of town".

On Saturday Mr O'Dea was said by friends to be "all over the place" and told supporters that he was taking a break of several weeks to recover from the controversy surrounding incorrect information given by him in an affidavit.

But before dropping out of the spotlight he was outspoken in his criticism of the Green Party for forcing his resignation last Thursday after supporting him in the previous night's confidence vote.

Instead of heading up the armed forces, Mr O'Dea intends to devote some of his new spare time to reading about them. In his local bar South's, he told supporters: "I've always been interested in military history -- even before I was defence minister. Now I'm reading another book about the invasion of Barbarossa."

Fears

Meanwhile, local opposition politicians have voiced their fears that Limerick could now be sidelined without a local minister to represent it at Cabinet.

Labour health spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan said yesterday she was worried that important issues may now lack a champion without Mr O'Dea's presence as a minister.

"That's a real dilemma for Limerick because we have huge challenges," she said. "The Dell taskforce recommendations -- none of them have been implemented.

"We have an increased rate of unemployment . . . and having a minister in Cabinet gives you a level of clout that unfortunately now we don't have."

Irish Independent

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