Cabinet firm in its support ahead of key debate
THE Cabinet will decide this morning on the wording of its defence of Justice Minister Alan Shatter in the motion of no confidence debate.
Fianna Fail's motion will be debated tonight and tomorrow, with the Government preparing to robustly hit back at the opposition.
Government ministers are continuing to defend Mr Shatter.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore have both firmly indicated the Coalition will stand squarely behind the minister.
Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins will begin the debate at 7.30pm tonight.
Following a 90-minute debate, the motion will continue tomorrow night for the second half, culminating in a vote. But the Coalition is expected to comfortably defeat the motion, with the votes of Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
Sinn Fein will be backing the Fianna Fail motion and a number of Independents are also expected to vote against Mr Shatter.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said Mr Shatter was a hard-working minister. "And I certainly will be voting confidence in the minister, as will all my government colleagues," she said.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said he had confidence in Mr Shatter and the motion was a "distraction". "The reality is Minister Shatter spoke on this last week he made it clear, he apologised for what happened," he said.
At a visit of EU agriculture ministers to Teagasc model farm in Grange, Co Meath, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney also backed his FG colleague.
"I have full confidence in Alan Shatter as a minister. He is one of the brightest politicians in the country and I think he's going through a difficult period at the moment, but I think he'll get through it," he said.
Fianna Fail believes Mr Shatter has displayed arrogance and his position was no longer tenable after a string of cases where he showed poor judgment.