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Big Willie's Style

Willie O'Dea's form of relaxation is slightly odd

It involves doing more work.

WILLIE O’DEA NEARLY gave it all up prior to the last general election.

The Fianna Fáil TD resigned as Defence Minister in February 2010 after he made a sworn statement denying he had made comments about a Sinn Féin councillor when in fact he had made the remarks.

Consigned to the backbenches, the veteran Limerick TD mulled retirement and admits it was something both his wife and his family thought was a good idea.

But ultimately he decided to “have another bash at it” after nearly three decades in the Dáil. Here’s why:

Nicky Ryan / YouTube

O’Dea admits that politics is “difficult to shake it off” but he has identified a rather unusual way of relaxing from the political grind.

It involves more work. More specfically it’s a role as non-executive chairman of the UK-based construction and property firm Formation Group.

I have to go across every month, once-a-month to chair and people ask me how I manage all that. It involves a certain amount of work in between it’s not just a matter of going in and taking the chair for a meeting.


The company invested heavily in the Irish property market during the boom and now offers specialist advise and project management for wealthy clients on their own construction schemes.

O’Dea has shares in the Formation Group according to the register of TDs’ interests and told us that he gets a “reasonable” amount of money for his services. He even finds the “different type of work” to be relaxing:

Basically, I sort of do that work to relax from politics as it were – it’s a form of relaxation.

With a smile he boasted: “Since I took the chair about… less than 12 months ago the share price has gone up quite considerably.”

WOD share

WATCH: Why Pearse Doherty eventually wants to sell sweets in Donegal

Read: Willie O’Dea made some startling revelations on TV3 last night

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