METROPOLITAN Mayor of Limerick Cllr Jerry O’Dea has indicated he intends to remain in office, despite calls for his resignation following controversy over his involvement in a road accident.
The Fianna Fail councillor was involved in a single vehicle car accident in the city last December which is now part of a garda investigation over the failure of local officers to follow up on it.
A report in The Sunday Times said Cllr O’Dea had contacted gardai in advance of his election as metropolitan mayor, seeking clarification on whether he was likely to be charged with a criminal offence.
Although Cllr O’Dea has said he considers the matter closed - and has indicated to colleagues that he plans to remain mayor – there have been calls for him to resign by fellow councillors Maurice Quinlivan, of Sinn Fein - who said his position is “not tenable” - and Cian Prendiville, of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.
Cllr John Sheahan, who leads Fianna Fail’s local council coalition partner Fine Gael, said if allegations against the mayor prove to be true, he hopes he will “do the right thing”.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has also entered the debate, calling on Cllr O’Dea to “consider” whether he should remain first citizen.
The Fianna Fail party in the city called an urgent meeting on Sunday night, and it is understood five of the six members attended - Cllr O’Dea is the sixth. No consensus was reached, however.
While Fianna Fail members have all declined to publicly comment - referring the Limerick Leader to the national press office - a party source said he was informed the mayor had indicated he was not resigning, feeling he does not have a reason to do so.
Mayor O’Dea gave a statement to various media outlets on Sunday which said he “co-operated fully with an Garda Siochana” following the incident.
In May this year, he said he was informed there would be no further action.
“I consider the matter closed,” Mayor O’Dea added.
The party source added: “We are between a rock and a hard place. It appears he will try and see this through without resigning. But my advice to him would be to go.”
The incident may even be raised in the Dail this Tuesday. Due to Dail privilege, this could ultimately reveal more about the case.
Cllr Quinlivan criticised Fianna Fail for “acting like Trappist monks” and taking “a vow of silence”.
He said throughout Monday, allegations against Mayor O’Dea have been brought up with him on several occasions.
Amid a number of calls from concerned Fine Gael members, Cllr Sheahan said he has made contact with Fianna Fail’s leader Michael Collins seeking answers.
“We have asked if they knew about this (incident) prior to the election of the metropolitan mayor, because we supported them in this. If they were aware of it, and they did not inform us, it would certainly be a matter of trust, or a lack of it,” he said.
Labour leader Joe Leddin called on Mayor O’Dea to make a fuller statement, saying he does not “think the office of mayor should be dragged into any controversy which could have hugely negative implications for the city.”
Mayor O’Dea was not available for comment.