News Analysis

Saturday 30 August 2014

'Drama queen' Alan Shatter is frozen out by Taoiseach

Former Justice Minister won't get a role as he goes to ground

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

Published 25/05/2014 | 02:30

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Enda Kenny and Alan Shatter
Enda Kenny and Alan Shatter
NEW ROLE: Alan Shatter will be consulted on legal issues

FORMER Justice Minister Alan Shatter will not be offered "any formal role" by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the pending reshuffle, and his cabinet career is now effectively over.

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Mr Kenny has shut the door on any suggestion that Mr Shatter would be offered either a junior ministry or any committee role in the coming months now that he has left Cabinet.

This is being seen as a further deterioration of their once-strong working relationship.

However, Mr Shatter is expected to be called upon by the Government to offer guidance to the Coalition on legislation he initiated as minister.

A government source told the Sunday Independent: "He may be called upon to provide guidance on the raft of legislation he brought through but there is no formal role envisaged at this stage."

Mr Shatter announced last Thursday that he is to retain the controversial €70,000 ministerial severance payment, but has donated the money to the Jack and Jill Foundation.

But there was fresh expressions of anger and frustration from within Cabinet at the manner of Mr Shatter's press conference, with one of his former ministerial colleagues describing him as a "drama queen".

One minister said: "He played the thing on the Plinth up to the hilt and no doubt it was an unwanted distraction for two days as the country was heading to the polls. He was the typical Shatter drama queen."

Mr Shatter has so far refused to be drawn as to his future plans in the Dail, other than to say he is "going nowhere".

The Dublin South TD was not contactable this weekend and his mobile phone was ringing to an international dial tone.

The news about Mr Shatter comes as the Government-commissioned report into the alleged bugging of the offices of An Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is not expected this week, despite it being five weeks overdue.

In February, the Government appointed retired High Court Judge John Cooke to conduct the independent inquiry into reports of unlawful surveillance of GSOC.

The report was expected by Government at Easter time, but it has yet to arrive and Government sources said yesterday that it is not likely to be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday.

The report to establish a chronology and identify the sequence of events and facts leading up to why GSOC commissioned a review of its security.

It is also examining all documents, reports and correspondence relevant to that Public Interest investigation.

Crucially it is to also review and assess any evidence of a security breach or attempted security breach at the commission that may have occurred at any time up to February 18 this year.

It is not yet clear whether the findings of the Cooke Inquiry will feed into one of the existing Government Commissions of Inquiry.

Sunday Independent

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