Saturday 24 March 2018

Fianna Fail politician Jerry O'Dea - who is at centre of 'drink drive' allegations - says 'matter is closed'

Tests: Despite the emphasis on drink driving, only 7,697 people were prosecuted last year for being over the limit
Tests: Despite the emphasis on drink driving, only 7,697 people were prosecuted last year for being over the limit

Daniel McConnell and David Raleigh

The Fianna Fail politician at the centre of allegations of drink driving following a traffic collision last year says he considers the "matter closed.

In a statement to, Jerry O’Dea says he now considers the “matter closed” and he denied he attempted to contact Gardai about the incident.

He confirmed he was involved in a single vehicle road traffic accident last year.

"In December 2014, I was involved in a single vehicle road traffic accident. I was the sole occupant of the car,” he said.

Mr O’Dea added that after the accident he fully cooperated with Gardai and was later informed that there would be no action taken against him.

“Following the accident i cooperated fully with an Garda Siochana and subsequently made no further contact with an Garda Siochana about the issue. In early May 2015 I was informed there  would be no action against me I consider the matter closed,” he said.

Mr O'Dea, an elected councillor who is serving as Mayor of Limerick, issued the statement just hours before an emergency meeting of Fianna Fail members in the Limerick metropolitan area was due to take place later this evening.

The meeting had been called for tonight to discuss the position of Mr O’Dea, the party’s metropolitan Mayor.

Mr O’Dea’s future as Mayor has been called into question by one of his own party colleagues, Cllr Shane Clifford, who said he “should reflect on the situation.”

Mr O’Dea is invited to attend the meeting but it remains unclear as to whether he will.

The meeting of councillors have been hastily convened after Mr O’Dea was named in national newspapers as having been involved in a road traffic accident last December.

Because of the short notice and several councillors are out of Limerick, the meeting cannot take place until 9pm tonight.

Read more here: Prominent Fianna Fail figure at centre of drink-driving incident 

Mr O’Dea was breathalysed and was found to be over the legal alcohol limit.

However, no prosecution was brought by An Garda Siochana and after six months the ability to prosecute lapsed.

The matter is now a matter of an internal Garda probe with senior officers appointed to conduct the investigation.

Mr O’Dea was contacted by email and by telephone by earlier today but he has not yet responded.

Mr O’Dea reportedly sought clarification from the force as to whether he would be facing charges, following the incident in the city.

Local TD Willie O’Dea said he was of the opinion that his party colleague should make a full personal statement and clear the air on the matter.

“He is a very personable, amiable guy. I would just urge him, were he to ask my advice, to make a full personal statement on the matter quickly,” Mr O’Dea said.

Party colleagues of the prominent Fianna Fáil local politician, who is at the centre of an internal Garda enquiry over the force's apparent failure to prosecute him over an alleged road collision in which he was three times over the drink driving limit, have launched a blistering attack on him, and called on him to "reflect on his position".

The politician, who has so far remained silent about the controversy, is alleged to have been found by emergency services in his car overturned on the outskirts of Limerick City on December 11th last.

He is alleged to have told gardai he swerved to avoid another vehicle that had left the scene before investigating officers arrived.

According to newspaper reports last Friday and today, the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has ordered an internal disciplinary inquiry into the matter.

Today, reacting to the allegations, Fianna Fáil Deputy Metropolitan Mayor of Limerick City and County Council, Shane Clifford, called on his party colleague, who is the man at the centre of the allegations, to "reflect on his position".

"I'm sure he's got a lot to think about, and I'd like to leave that to him today to discuss with his family and advisors," Cllr Clifford added.

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