Political response to the resignation of Willie O'Dea

Statement by an Taoiseach  Brian Cowen on the resignation of Willie O'Dea

The Taoiseach wishes to announce that Mr Willie O’Dea TD has this evening tendered his resignation as Minister for Defence and the President has accepted it.

In tendering his resignation, Mr O’Dea said: “I have come to the regrettable conclusion that my continuing in office will only serve to distract from the important and vital work of Government in addressing the serious challenges that the country continues to face at this time.”

In response to Mr. O’Dea’s resignation, the Taoiseach said:

“I want to thank you for your hard work and commitment in carrying out your duties as Minister. I believe that you have made a significant contribution

to the Governments in which you have served and have shown great skill in overseeing the modernisation of the Defence Forces.”

The Taoiseach has assigned the Department of Defence to himself for the present.

The correspondence between the Taoiseach and the Minister is being published.

Statement by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny on the resignation of Willie O’Dea


“Resigning his position in Cabinet must have been very difficult for Willie O’Dea and a very trying event for his family. However, Willie O'Dea's resignation was an inevitable consequence of his swearing of a false affidavit before the High Court." 

“The refusal of the Taoiseach and his colleagues in government to demand any accountability for this behaviour was the reason that I tabled a motion of no confidence in Deputy O'Dea on Tuesday night."

 “Now that he has bowed to the inevitable, he leaves behind a cabinet whose credibility is in tatters. Despite knowing the full facts, the Taoiseach and his Fianna Fail and Green ministers queued up just yesterday to vehemently support Deputy O'Dea, to assert that he had done nothing wrong other than a simple human mistake, and to vote complete confidence in him." 

“This debacle raises fundamental questions about the Taoiseach's willingness to enforce proper standards of behaviour in his Government. Despite knowing the facts of this situation since December, Brian Cowen apparently didn't even ask for an explanation until the issue became the subject of a newspaper editorial earlier this week."

"The tenor of his subsequent defence of Willie O'Dea, during which the Taoiseach said that Deputy O'Dea had met his standard, casts serious doubt about this Taoiseach's understanding of the type of conduct that should be required of cabinet ministers. His handling of this crisis leaves a huge question mark over his judgement and credibility as Taoiseach." 

“This affair also leaves the government in disarray. The main partner has confirmed that the Fianna Fail code of ethics has been safely passed on to this generation of the party."

“The junior partners, the Greens, have been emphatically and decisively humiliated and have confirmed their role as Fianna Fail's mudguard."

“Finally, the third leg of this shaky stool, the remnants of the PDs, have confirmed that any sense of values that existed when that party was founded have been well and truly abandoned in favour of retaining power at any cost."

Remarks by Green Party leader John Gormley on the resignation of Willie O’Dea

“Yesterday afternoon I met Willie O’Dea and he assured me that an article in today’s Limerick Leader would vindicate him. The article published today does not do that. In fact it does the opposite.

 "At the very conclusion of yesterday’s Dail debate Mr O’Dea said his original actions in the matter were based on information given to him by An Garda Siochana. We were very concerned by this behaviour by a member of Government.

"We have also taken the view that Willie O’Dea’s comments and conduct during yesterday’s debate and in subsequent media appearances were inappropriate.

"All these factors have led us to conclude that Willie O’Dea could not continue as a member of this Government. The issue has already taken up too much energy and attention at a time when crucial economic challenges face the Irish people.

"We are committed to continuing to work with our partners in government to face those challenges."