Sunday 11 December 2016

'I felt like a murderer... I was spat on and shouted at' - Alan Shatter

Former Justice Minister spoke about treatment after the Guerin report was published

Barry Lennon and Catherine Devine

Published 13/05/2016 | 11:12

Former minister Alan Shatter (Picture: Tony Gavin)
Former minister Alan Shatter (Picture: Tony Gavin)

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he “felt like a murderer” after the Guerin report was published.

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The former TD also described how he was spat on, shouted and harassed in public in the wake its findings which forced him to resign as Minister.

“One felt as if I had murdered someone or robbed a bank… for a period I lost faith that telling the truth mattered,” he said on RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke programme.

 “The last two years have been particularly difficult, not just for me but for my wife and my family and the people close to me. It’s very difficult when you’re in a situation that you know you’re telling the truth about matters of genuine public importance where you understand that you dealt with matters in a careful and considered way. None of us can be right all the time.”

“I was shouted at and abused by people on the streets, I was the object of continual abuse on social media. On one occasion a cyclist passed and spat on me.”

Even when he took a break’s holiday to France him and his wife were abused by an Irish man.

“I was out for lunch one day with my daughter in the immediate aftermath of resigning and we were pursued and prosecuted by a photographer. We were trying to have a private moment.

“Someone is always a hero, someone is always a villain.”

He also believes the preliminary report investigating allegations of Garda corruption, cost him his seat during the General Election.

“I believe that the Guerin report should be withdrawn, conclusions corrected and the Dáil record should be corrected.”

“It resulted in the condemnation of both myself and the Garda Commissioner. It resulted in my being required to resign as minister in government and it reached conclusions all of which are now discredited. “

“There were conclusions reached about my conduct as Minister for Justice that had a devastating impact on my life.”

“I have no doubt that the Guerin report did extraordinary damage to my representation and had an impact on the General Election. I may have still been a member of Dáil Éireann.”

Mr Shatter welcomed the O’Higgins report which fully vindicated him, finding he took appropriate action on hearing allegations of corruption.

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