I don’t want to get up on any high horse about ethics in public office, or Willie O’Dea lowering the public’s opinion of politicians. I don’t believe he has done any such thing. He has simply lived down to the very low standards that the public have come to expect.
The Greens in supporting him have confirmed what we all knew. Their talk about high standards in high places was nothing more than populist bluster. They too have lived down to the low standards they claim to oppose, again no surprise there.
And Fianna Fail. Ah Fianna Fail. Is there no end to the entertainment you give us?
There’s really no point lowering our expectations of Fianna Fail because if limboing beneath expectations of decency and honesty was an Olympic sport Fianna Fail would be a global superstar that makes Usain Bolt look like an out of shape jogger.
So, let’s forget all that nonsense. Let’s forget about the explanations given by O’Dea, we know he’s a liar so why pay any heed to his version of events. Let’s instead piece together what really happened here, so that the rest of us can understand it, agree about it and move on.
Here’s what actually happened.
O’Dea heard or invented a rumour about Mr. Quinlivan. He claims he heard it from a Garda, but he won’t name the Garda. Given O’Dea’s record I see no reason to believe his claims about the Gardai. Let’s put this part of the story down as “questionable”.
O’Dea claims he “accidentally, or inadvertently” repeated the rumours to a journalist, and then promptly forgot that he had. This is clearly a Lie. The only way Mr. O’Dea could forget such outrageous claims is if he routinely makes similar claims and this claim wasn’t in any way special.
If it was out of character for him, he would have remembered. If it was in character for him then he couldn’t have been sure enough of having not made the statements to swear an affidavit.
Mr O’Dea claims that his affidavit was a “mistake” not perjury. This is a lie.
How do we know that Mr O’Dea committed perjury in his affidavit rather than simply making a mistake?
His own words convict him.
He claimed on the RTE News at 1 on February 18th that “he knew a tape existed of the interview BEFORE he made his sworn affidavit”. He uses this as evidence that he couldn’t have committed perjury because it would have been “illogical” to do so.
Isn’t it even more illogical to swear an affidavit about what you did or didn’t say in an interview without checking the contents of a tape that you know exists?
Mr O’Dea claimed in the Dail on February 17th that he heard the rumour from a Garda, but made no mention of the Garda in his affidavid because the rumour “turned out to be wrong”.
So he admits that he remembers hearing the rumour, he remembers who he heard it from. He remembers learning at some point that the rumour was false, so this wasn’t something he heard in passing and forgot. It was something that was on his mind, however he forgets passing on the rumour, and was willing to swear an oath that he hadn’t passed it on when he could have simply checked the tape or told the court that the tape existed.
It just doesn’t stack up. The reason it doesn’t stack up is that Mr. O’Dea knowingly committed perjury.
It is interesting that his memory of the interview is so vague that he can forget making wild claims about a political opponent, but fresh enough that he can remember there being a tape recorder. He seems to have studied at the Bertie Ahern school of selective amnesia. Perhaps Fianna Fail run night classes.
Ironically if he claimed to have forgotten there was a tape then his whole story would hang together much better. We can be thankful that Mr. O’Dea lies first and thinks later.
I’m amazed the Greens haven’t asked for his head on a plate. It would seem like a no-brainer. Force the sacking of Willie, and they get to look like they can still wag the dog, they get to stay in government.
Supporting O’Dea seems like a lose lose for the Greens. It confirms the perception that Fianna Fail is running rings around them and leaves them open to an embarrassing u-turn when O’Dea’s facade of lies eventually comes tumbling down.
Even if O’Dea survives he has done a service for those of us hoping to see the back of this government. He has weakened Greena Fail and made them more susceptible to the next banana skin.