'New low' as Shatter's home is targeted in hate campaign
Major security alert after suspicious package is sent to minister's house
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has been subjected to a hate campaign involving offensive materials being sent to his department.
Videos and letters, described as particularly nasty, have been posted to the embattled minister with anti-Semitic messages – but an alert at his home marked a "new low", his colleagues said last night.
Army bomb experts last night concluded that a white substance delivered to Mr Shatter's house was baking powder.
However, this was not before a major security operation was put in place at his estate in Ballinteer, south Dublin, yesterday morning.
After finding the suspicious package, he immediately alerted gardai, who called in an Army bomb disposal unit. The Army carried out a field test on the powder and quickly established it was not dangerous.
Speaking outside the family home, his wife Carol Shatter said she hoped gardai would be able to track down the culprits.
"I just want to say the racist abuse is absolutely disgusting," she said.
"Those who have done it should be caught and brought to justice... It's disgraceful," she told the Daily Mirror.
Gardai are examining footage taken from CCTV cameras in the area to determine if anybody, other than a postman, had delivered any mail to the house during the morning.
The package also contained a photograph of Nazi soldiers at a rally in the late 1930s and images of five swastikas.
The package is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic material targeting Mr Shatter.
The campaign began shortly after he became Justice Minister.
Forensic tests are being carried out by gardai on the letter received yesterday in an effort to find fingerprints belonged to the sender and to establish the postmark.
The letter had been stamped.
Mr Shatter did not comment publicly on the hate mail.
But the incident was condemned in the Dail by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said it marked a new low and his comments were supported by TDs from other parties.
Gardai said last night that the incident was being treated very seriously and they were carrying out checks to establish if it could be linked to previous anti-Semitic campaigns.
During the 1970s, a stream of anti-Semitic literature was sent to a number of targeted figures in Dublin and posters erected on city streets.
But that campaign was ended after gardai identified the organisers, who were living in the south inner city.
The minister's home is policed by regular garda patrolling of the area but Mr Shatter does not have a permanent guard on his house.
The number of garda posts on the homes of senior politicians was scaled down after the threat posed by subversives here diminished.
However, there were incidents involving protesters outside the Dundalk home of Mr Shatter's predecessor, Dermot Ahern.