What exactly happened in Limerick last Saturday night between Minister for Defence and Shannon airport campaigners, John Fahy and Geraldine Morrissey?
Here’s the story as related on RTEs Today with Pat Kenny (Thursday), Drivetime and on Today FM, The Last Word with Matt Cooper.
Minister O’Dea stopped at their table with his two minders.
Minister, why didn’t you take part in the Dail debate on Aer Lingus last Thursday?
I was in McKee barracks.
That was Wednesday you were in McKee barracks, you were in the Dail on Thursday, why didn’t you take part in the debate?
I am the Minister for Defence.
Well, you didn’t defend the people of the West of Ireland very well.
Who’s this big prick?
I would like to hit you.
Well, if you were a little bigger maybe I might let you.
O’Dea: (Speaking close to Morrissey’s face)
I don’t give a fuck about you.
O’Dea’s minders then took him away
O’Dea’s version on Today with Pat Kenny.
What happened here was, I listen to people, I try to explain my position, I was shouted down and in the end I will admit I was dismissive and said sod off or words to that effect and walked away. I did not use the word prick.
I might have used the words feck off at the end, I’m not quite sure. I think I said sod off or get lost or feck off…of that I’m absolutely clear in my mind.
O’Dea’s version on The Last Word.
Two people approached me in a very, very aggressive manner shouting about Shannon. I attempted to explain myself and I wasn’t allowed to and basically I told them to hump off and walked away and there was a number of people with me who can testify to that and that is all that happened.
There are a couple of curious aspects to the incident.
Why did O’Dea feel it necessary to escort Minister for Finance Brian Cowen to his car? Perhaps, given Limerick’s reputation, Willie felt that Cowen’s minders needed some extra muscle power. Or perhaps, Willie is keeping very well in with the ‘anointed one’?
The “very, very aggressive” attack on Willie took place while on his way back to his wife and after he left the (Big strong) minister. Could it be a case of Willie being caught in the open without enough minders?
On a more serious note, the media seem to have missed the clear attempt by the Minister’s spokesperson to smear the reputation of Fahy and Morrissey by accusing them of trying to sell their story to several newspapers.
It’s possible that this spokesperson is a private citizen but it is more likely that he/she is a civil servant. If that is the case then such tactics are indeed disturbing but, alas, not at all surprising.