Saturday 22 October 2016

John Drennan: Shattered Shatter runs out of credit - but will he bring Enda Kenny with him?

Published 07/05/2014 | 17:49

Alan Shatter has resigned as Justice Minister
Alan Shatter has resigned as Justice Minister
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Picture: Mark Condren

Some of us always suspected that Shatter would end in tears.

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But, as he snarled and sniped at Clare Daly this morning talking about her being a fan of Osama Bin Laden no-one thought the end was nigh.

The Minister was, in the wake of the Data Commissioners finding, was running out of political credit and quickly.

But no-one expected the ashen-faced denouement of this afternoon where a pallid Enda Kenny simply announced the resignation of the most embattled, most controversial Minister for Justice in modern times.

A lot of political credit was invested in Alan Shatter’s political career.

As recently as today Enda Kenny backed the former Justice Minister, the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore backed the former Justice Minister and Leo Varadkar backed the former Justice Minister.

Sadly as it turns out they would have been better off putting their money on Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

They were the big winners today for the Independent troika, who brought the whistleblowers to light, and they were the clear winners of the long war.

As the troubles piled over Mr Shatters head with GSOC, with the whistleblowers, with the Data Commissioner many wondered why Mr Kenny did not sack a Minister who was such a lightning rod for trouble. 

The problem was a simple one.

In a sense the Taoiseach and the Coalition, when it came to Alan Shatter, were like some-one who had bought Anglo Irish shares in 2007.

Mr Kenny, Mr Gilmore and the rest of the cabinet had invested so much of their political credit into Mr Shatter that even as his political share value was going through the floor to cut their losses appeared to be too high a price.

Sadly like the poor old punters in 2007 they have lost the political pot now.

The Taoiseach’s closest ally outside of Phil Hogan is gone and has left nothing political tumbleweed from behind.

Even as the Ministers astonished cabinet colleagues looked on like a collective of stunned mullets the coldness of the old political game was epitomized by the queries already gathering in the corridors of Leinster House as to who the next Minister will be.

Could Justice be in need of the tender embrace of nice Frances Fitzgerald or will Leo be the man with the big stick needed to sort out the dysfunctional Department or could Enda promote some-one out of left field like Liam Twomey.

One thing amongst all the chaos is certain.

Alan Shatter is toast.

And outside of Mr Shatter absolutely no-one else is crying.

Instead the only question any-one is asking is could he be the slow puncture that might in time bring Mr Kenny with him?

Irish Independent

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