EDUCATION Minister Jan O’Sullivan has said it is up to Cllr Jerry O’Dea to “consider” whether he should remain as metropolitan mayor.
It comes amid reports over the weekend that he was involved in a serious car accident last December, for which he reportedly sought clarification on whether he was to be charged with a criminal offence.
Gardai at Roxboro Road have opened an internal inquiry into the alleged incident, while Mayor O’Dea has said he considers the matter closed.
Speaking at the reopening of St Enda’s School as a further education centre this Monday, Ms O’Sullivan said: “I think we need to let the inquiry take its course. I think with the nature of any inquiry, you have to suspend your judgement until the inquiry takes place. I would expect the inquiry will reveal the facts about what happened. Then appropriate action will be taken.”
Asked if she felt it appropriate he remains the metropolitan district’s first citizen, the Labour minister added: “I think that is a matter for himself to consider. The inquiry has to take place, so it would not be right to make judgement in advance of that.”
In a brief statement yesterday, Mayor O’Dea said: “In December 2014 I was involved in a single vehicle road traffic accident. I was the sole occupant of the car. Following the accident I co-operated 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.”
However, Cllr Joe Leddin, who leads the Labour party on Limerick City and County Council has called on Mayor O’Dea to clarify his position further.
“I feel the metropolitan mayor must make a fuller statement. I don’t like to see the office of mayor being brought into disrepute. I don’t think the office of mayor should be dragged into any controversy which could have hugely negative implications for the city. He does need to make a full and detailed statement.
“As a former mayor, your first and foremost priority is to represent the people of Limerick. There is a huge historic value attached to the office of mayor, and I think people in the position need to be cognisant of that, and do what is right for the office of mayor,” he said.