Willie O’Dea and the Secret DPP Briefing

If Willie O Dea’s recent remarks are to be taken at face value, it seems he has managed to secure a private line of information from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

You might recall that Willie was forced to resign his ministry when it emerged that he had lodged an affidavit with the High Court which contained untrue evidence.

The national press, including the Irish Times, seem to have accepted the spin that Willie put on the matter and are reporting that he withdrew his evidence in a libel case.

The affidavit had nothing to do with the libel case.

It was sworn in an action taken by Maurice Quinlivan under an electoral act — a case which Willie won because the court relied on the sworn evidence in his affidavit. Contrary to what Willie later said, the statement was never withdrawn because an affidavit, once lodged with the court, remains as evidence, even if the information it contains is factually untrue.

To repeat: Willie O Dea did not withdraw or amend this affidavit  because he didn’t have the power to do so.

Following publication of the details, there was speculation that Willie might be prosecuted, because swearing a false statement is normally considered perjury.  However, the DPP this week decided not to proceed against him.

When making a public statement on the matter, Willie made an extraordinary claim thatthe DPP had decided there was no case to answer.

I have no idea how he has this information, since the DPP’s office never comments on the reasons for not bringing a prosecution.  It never says that a person has no case to answer.

The only way Willie could know that the DPP thinks he has no case to answer is if somebody in the DPP’s office told him so.

That would be gross political interference in the workings of the DPP’s office and, if true, warrants an investigation to discover what officials, and at what level, are communicating privately with politicians.

If the Gardaí told him the DPP believes he has no case to answer, then they have exceeded their authority, and have extended a courtesy to Willie that you or I would not receive.

On the other hand, it might simply be waffle from Willie, which would be nothing new.