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developing story Willie O’Dea says he's 'done nothing wrong' over property controversy and warns British developer may go elsewhere

Mr O’Dea decided to step down and sell his shares in the company to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest

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Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Fianna Fáil Deputy Willie O’Dea who found himself at the centre of a controversy over his involvement with a British property developer has said the company may now go elsewhere. 

The Limerick TD stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman at Formation Homes after he faced criticism for objecting to a development on the Condell Road, opposite to where Formation was involved in a social housing project.

However, he has now warned that Formation Homes may “go elsewhere now” after he quit as they are “ticked off” at all the controversy.

The former Defence Minister told the Limerick Leader that he believes were it not for his chairmanship of the firm, the social housing project may not have been on the cards for Limerick.

“It did help the case,” he said, “The irony is, if someone else had been the chairman, an unknown, there wouldn’t have been a word said about this.”

Mr O’Dea insisted that Formation was not bulk-buying the homes in Limerick, nor selling them off to an investor, but an approved housing body instead.

“As we speak, developers from all over the country are doing deals with housing associations to provide social housing. Most social housing is coming in this way,” he said.

Mr O’Dea decided to step down and sell his shares in the company to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

He added that the timing of the coverage was “very unfortunate” as it clashed with news of the sale of a private development in Dublin to an international fund.

This deal had the effect of blocking first-time buyers from buying houses in the estate, in favour of so-called cuckoo funds which would then put the homes out for rent.

It's a practice condemned by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, however Mr O’Dea said he had not felt pressure from within Fianna Fáil to step down from the role.

“For my own sake, I just decided enough was enough. All the negative publicity. People who do not like me blew it up on social media. But I’ve done nothing wrong. In fact, I’ve lost out financially,” Mr O’Dea added.

”I am [disappointed]” he told the Limerick Leader this week. “I need to resign for this even though I’ve done nothing wrong and gained nothing.”

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