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Saturday 18 November 2017

O'Dea under fire after blistering attack on Green partners

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

FORMER Defence Minister Willie O'Dea was accused by a Fianna Fail colleague last night of "undermining the Taoiseach" and not helping the Government by attacking the Green Party.

Mr O'Dea had launched a savage attack on the Green Party, describing the behaviour of the junior coalition partner as "corrosive" to government.

He also criticised the Government's failure to hold by-elections, describing the 15-month delay in Donegal South-West as "undemocratic", and calling for it to be held early next year as the focus now should be on the Budget.

But fellow Fianna Fail backbencher Ned O'Keeffe told the Irish Independent he did not approve of Mr O'Dea's interventions.

"I think he was undermining the Taoiseach. It is up to the Taoiseach to decide on the by-elections," he said. "I think his remarks on the Greens were not helpful. . . I think the Greens are a good party in coalition."

However, it is also understood that Mr O'Dea's stance on the by-elections was cleared by senior Fianna Fail figures in government.

Green Party chairman Dan Boyle last night promised to keep commenting on Twitter, despite Mr O'Dea's attack.

Mr O'Dea said Mr Boyle's continued activity on Twitter was an effort by the junior coalition partners to have it both ways and distance the party from unpopular government decisions.

Mr O'Dea was forced to resign as Defence Minister earlier this year after the Greens pulled their support for him, following a Twitter-driven revolt by Mr Boyle.

Mr O'Dea also said he was surprised to hear Mr Boyle was being authorised to make the comments by his party leadership.

Irish Independent

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