Opposition questions Taoiseach and Tánaiste’s support of Robert Troy

Sinn Féin TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that there were now serious questions for the Taoiseach and Tánaiste who had “stood by their man”
Opposition questions Taoiseach and Tánaiste’s support of Robert Troy

Vivienne Clarke

The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste’s support of junior minister Robert Troy during the controversy surrounding his property interests raises “serious questions” about their judgment, Mary Lou McDonald has said.

The Sinn Féin leader said the resignation of Mr Troy as trade promotion minister was “inevitable”.

Mr Troy described the last 10 days as “extremely difficult”, and thanked Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and colleagues who had shown their support.

In a statement the Longford-Westmeath TD said he had not tried to conceal anything, adding “my biggest offence is my lack of due diligence”.

The Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) and the Dáil Committee on Parliamentary Privileges and Oversight are being urged to investigate matters related to his property interests.

Ms McDonald said: “As each day passed, further revelations about Minister Troy’s behaviour as a landlord came into the public domain.

“Properties that had failed to be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board, a property without fire certification, RAS arrangements not declared in the Dail register, other interests not properly declared, and the list went on.

“Throughout this period both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste offered their full support, describing Robert Troy as a ‘first-class minister’.”

She added that Wednesday’s “inevitable” resignation by Mr Troy “casts very serious questions on their judgment and those are questions that will not go away as a result of this action”.

Sinn Féin TD for Donegal and a member of the procedure, privilege and oversight committee, Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that there were now serious questions for the Taoiseach and Tánaiste who had “stood by their man”.

They had not questioned Robert Troy nor demanded evidence from him that could have cleared up the matter. It was a really serious matter that Mr Troy had not registered with the RTB and there was the question of how much tax he had paid on the rental income he received in cash, he RTÉ radio.

The judgement of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste was “appalling” when there was a housing crisis that had been brought about because of the policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“There are serious questions over how the Taoiseach and Tánaiste handled this affair,” he said.

'Right decision'

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said that Robert Troy made the right decision to resign as the focus on him was distracting from the work of Government.

Mr O’Gorman told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that in the context of the errors made by Mr Troy “and there were a significant number of them”, he (Troy) saw they were going to be a focus at a time when there were major political issues that needed to be addressed.

"It was the right thing to do.”

When asked if the Taoiseach and Tánaiste had been wrong to express their support for Mr Troy, as had been claimed by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Mr O’Gorman said that both Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar had wanted to give Mr Troy the opportunity to go before the Dáil to explain, but as the Dáil would not be sitting for a number of weeks, the focus on him would distract from the wider work of Government.

Mr O’Gorman said that Robert Troy had been “a good Minister and a good colleague.”

With regard to Mr Troy’s statement in which he said that he had been vilified because he was a landlord, Mr O’Gorman said that he did not think anyone should have to apologise because they were a landlord.

Everyone in the coalition recognised that this was a significant issue and it was understood that there were wider issues that would have to be addressed by Robert Troy.

'Inevitable'

The Labour party leader Ivana Bacik has said the resignation of Robert Troy was inevitable, and the “drip feeding” of information in recent days had not helped.

The “catalogue of omissions” had illustrated the “really serious careless” dismissal by him of mechanisms that had been put in place to guarantee standards in public office.

Ms Bacik told Newstalk Breakfast that she viewed Mr Troy’s departure as inevitable unless he could provide details to clarify the situation.

When Green Party leader Eamon Ryan did not express confidence in him on Wednesday and had called on SIPO to investigate the matter, it was no longer tenable for Robert Troy to stay on in office as a Junior Minister, said Ms Bacik.

The situation had become a distraction at a time when there was a housing crisis and a cost of living crisis, she added.

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