Sunday 18 February 2018

O'Dea hoping for Cabinet return if cleared by probe

Barry Duggan

FORMER Defence Minister Willie O'Dea is aiming for a return to the cabinet table.

The Limerick TD said if his name was cleared as part of the ongoing garda investigation after he provided a false affidavit to the High Court, he would have "every prospect" of returning to senior office. He said his sudden departure from office was "traumatic".

"If I stay on in politics, my objective would be to return to Cabinet," he said. "At the end of the day, if it emerges as a result of the inquiry that is being carried on that I did nothing wrong, I'd have every prospect of returning I would suspect, and I would be working very hard in that direction."

A garda investigation arose after a complaint was made by a Green Party activist that Mr O'Dea had perjured himself with the false affidavit. The Fianna Fail TD was interviewed by gardai after he incorrectly claimed Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan was linked to a brothel in Limerick city. Mr O'Dea has paid out substantial damages to the Limerick city councillor for his remarks.

The investigation is ongoing.

Mr O'Dea said he did not know when the extensive garda inquiry would be over, but added "let's see what conclusion they come to".

He added: "I don't want to pre-empt the outcome of anything.

"The investigation is ongoing and if the outcome is that I didn't do anything wrong, then one has to ask the question -- why did I have to resign."

Speaking on Limerick's Live 95FM yesterday he said: "I had the unusual experience that the Dail actually voted confidence in me at 6pm on a Wednesday evening and within 24 hours I was nevertheless gone from office. That's pretty traumatic."

Irish Independent

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