Wednesday 20 September 2017

Kenny headache as Shatter stays silent on €70k payout

Mr Kenny said he expected his former Justice Minister to forgo the payment
Mr Kenny said he expected his former Justice Minister to forgo the payment
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

FORMER Justice Minister Alan Shatter has caused a pre-election headache for Fine Gael by refusing to state whether he is giving up his €70,000 golden handshake.

Mr Shatter refused to comment on the severance payment despite calls from Taoiseach Enda Kenny to forfeit it.

He is entitled to the golden handshake because legislation ending the practice was not enacted before he resigned two weeks ago.

Mr Kenny said he expected his former Justice Minister to forgo the payment, because he agreed to the legislation while he was in Cabinet.

"It is in the Programme for Government, worked out between Fine Gael and Labour," he said. "Obviously, Alan was a member of that Cabinet (and) was a member who approved the legislation.

"Technically he is entitled to the payment – but I expect everybody who was party to it would adhere to Government policy and not accept it."

The Irish Independent understands the Department of Finance wrote to Mr Shatter soon after he resigned, informing him he was entitled to the payment and asking how he would like to proceed.

As of last night, the former minister had not made contact with the department.

If he does not respond, the payment will be held until he makes contact.

Mr Shatter did not respond to several requests for comment from the Irish Independent.

Fine Gael said it does not know if Mr Shatter would reject the payment as he had not informed the party of his intention.

Party sources said they would like Mr Shatter to address the matter before the electorate goes to the polls tomorrow, but said they could not force him to make a statement.

However, pressure did come from his former Cabinet colleagues.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who clashed with Mr Shatter in the past, said he did not want to "kick a man when he's down" but said he should refuse the golden handshake.

Mr Shatter was forced to resign from office after a series of high-profile garda controversies.

Irish Independent

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