PAT Rabbitte says Alan Shatter may have been “mistaken” when he said a garda whistleblower did not cooperate with an investigation into the writing off of penalty points.
But the Communications Minister said he does have confidence in the Justice Minister.
And, speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio, the Labour Party minister did not rule out an independent investigation into allegations of garda mishandling of a range of investigations, some involving murder, abduction and assault.
Mr Shatter has claimed in the Dail that Sergeant Maurice McCabe did not cooperate with an investigation into the penalty points controversy.
But Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claimed yesterday Sergeant McCabe was not asked for any information by the inquiry.
Mr Rabbitte said he was sure Mr Shatter would “correct the record” if he was wrong.
“The Minister for Justice may have been mistaken when he said he didn’t cooperate,” he said.
“This is not a minister who would mislead the Dail,” he added.
“If that wasn’t his genuine understanding of the situation at the time, it would be unthinkable he would have said otherwise.”
Mr Rabbitte praised Mr Shatter’s abilities as Justice Minister.
“I do have confidence in Alan Shatter,” he said.
Mr Shatter also said the allegations of mismanagement of cases by the gardai were “serious” and the issues involved are of “a grave nature”.
“I don’t rule out an inquiry under the Commission of Investigation Act. I don’t rule that out at all,” he said.
Mr Shatter’s officials are also understood to trawling through records in his department to establish how he dealt with the allegations when they were originally sent to him by the whistleblower.
The review of correspondence in the Department of Justice centres on how the allegations were handled.
Mr Shatter is expected to issue a response today to allegations he failed to act on the information for two years.
Attorney General Maire Whelan and senior officials in the Taoiseach’s department are scanning a dossier of cases of alleged mismanagement by the gardai, some involving murder, abduction and assault.
The files from a garda whistleblower were passed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.