Saturday 10 December 2016

If you dish it out, it can come right back at you

Shatter's criticisms of his predecessors sound just like what is being said about the justice minister now

Published 06/04/2014 | 02:30

Then Justice Minister Michael McDowell with Martin Callinan as he was appointed Deputy Garda Commissioner in 2007.
Then Justice Minister Michael McDowell with Martin Callinan as he was appointed Deputy Garda Commissioner in 2007.

THERE is a strange sense of victimhood in high places in Ireland. Angela Kerins – who has left her job in Rehab probably mainly because she came on Morning Ireland and refused to divulge her salary in the midst of a huge charity salaries scandal, and for a good while thereafter – announced last week that she was leaving her job for the good of Rehab and also because of the stress on her family. So her two reasons for leaving were: nobility – taking a fall for the greater good of Rehab, and because her family was being upset, presumably by reports in the media and so forth. So none of it is Angela's fault. She, and her family, are victims. And she has now been beaten by the bullies so she is retiring with dignity and the bullies have won.

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Alan Shatter hasn't quite been beaten by the bullies yet but he is feeling the pressure. He made a most moving speech in the Dail the other night that suggested a man who is baffled and upset by the hammering he has taken recently. Indeed, the minister seems to feel that this hammering is undeserved and is certainly nothing to do with anything he did himself. He is a victim, it seems, of personal vendettas from people. He is constantly accused, he told us, in a very personalised way, of a variety of different failures. In fairness, it's hard to accuse someone of a variety of different failures without it being personal, and without them taking it personally. When that same person seems to be largely guilty of those failures, then that tends to make it even more personal.

And poor old Shatter can't win. When he tries to defend himself against his critics, he complained, he is "labelled as arrogant and overbearing". You'd think, he said, to listen to the Opposition, that he was public enemy number one. Perish the thought. So it was the Opposition who made Alan Shatter unpopular. It was they who made him seem arrogant when he was only trying to defend himself. Like Angela Kerins, nothing Alan Shatter did himself led him to his current sorry pass. He is a victim of bullies on the Opposition benches, and presumably in the media too.

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