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Irish report Irish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-02-18 07:55:32
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Government wins motion of confidence in Minister O'Dea

The Government has this evening won a motion of confidence in Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea by 80 votes in favour and 69 against. The decision to hold the motion in the Dáil this afternoon came after the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny announced his intention earlier this week to table a motion of no confidence in the Minister, to be taken in Opposition time next week. Opening the motion this afternoon, Taoiseach Brian Cowen defended Mr O'Dea, saying that he "had made a genuine mistake". The Taoiseach was critical of the Opposition's intention to table a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Defence.

"The criticism of him [Mr O'Dea] does not arise from anything he has done during the course of his duties as Minister for Defence," said Mr Cowen. "I've heard people on the Opposition benches trying to propagate the myth that the Minister is in breach of the Cabinet code of conduct, but this is once again a case of political discourse from the Opposition benches generating more heat than light." Describing him as "the best Minister for Defence seen in recent times, " Mr Cowen said Mr O'Dea's actions again stated that he did not believe there had been any breaches of the law or codes of conduct by the Minister.

"I want to say clearly that it does not serve this Oireachtas well to imply ill-founded allegations of perjury in a coarse attempt to secure political advantage. Let's be clear, perjury does not arise here, and it is despicable that some have suggested it," he said. Also speaking in the Dáil, Mr O'Dea said he came before the House last night to refute "the baseless, cynical and malicious allegations" made against him by Opposition parties. "No sooner had I reached the end of my statement last night but Deputy Kenny was on his feet declaring that Fine Gael would table a motion of no confidence in me. Fine Gael had decided this before they had heard a word of what I had to say. A classic example of the Ready, Fire, Aim school of political tactics that has become Deputy Kenny's stock in trade," Mr O'Dea said.


Martin hails Vatican talks

The meeting of the pope and 24 Irish bishops earlier this week was a step in a process of reconciliation, the Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said. Dr Martin said the meeting would be followed by a pastoral letter and “other things” and stressed that not everything happens at once.

Speaking following an Ash Wednesday service at University College Dublin, he said messages from abuse survivors had been passed on to the pope and that the question of a meeting between the pope and survivors had not been excluded. “The Pope has met with survivors in a number of countries, he has always done so rather quietly and has announced afterwards so as to avoid the fact this could become a media event rather than genuinely listening to people in the serenity a thing like that requires. Nothing is excluded.” Dr Martin said there was no turning back or denial of the Murphy report, which was one of the requests made by survivors.

He said the calling and tone of the meeting showed the matter of clerical child abuse was a matter of concern to the Vatican and that the Pope was angry about what had happened. “There was clear concern and the Pope was distressed at what had happened, particularly in this diocese of Dublin as recorded in the Murphy Report. “He called this meeting to begin a process of seeing why didn't we address the problems that were there and why did it happen and where we will go in the future.”


Dubai passport numbers 'genuine'

The Government is trying to contact three Irish citizens after it emerged passports used by suspects in the assasination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai featured genuine Irish passport numbers. In a statement issued this evening, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micháel Martin said additional information provided by the authorities in the United Arab Emirates to the Irish Ambassador, Ciarán Madden, confirms that the passports used were fraudulent.

However, the Department said the "new information" included additional material relating to the passport numbers. "This indicates that genuine Irish passport numbers were used. These numbers correspond to actual numbers on three legitimate Irish passports", the Department said in a statement this evening.

The Department said the identities of the persons recorded on the forged passports do not correspond to those recorded on the valid passports carrying the same numbers. The Department of Foreign Affairs is urgently trying to contact the three Irish citizens who hold or have held passports containing these numbers. Minister Martin requested that the privacy of the three individuals concerned be respected.

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