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Friday 19 January 2018

'A very capable minister' - Simon Coveney backs Frances Fitzgerald as new Minister for Justice

Aishling Phelan

Minister Simon Coveney has expressed his full confidence in the appointment of Frances Fitzgerald as the new Minister for Justice.

‘‘Frances Fitzgerald has really proven herself to be a really capable minister in the department of children,’’ he told Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One.

The Fine Gael minister defended Alan Shatter’s work, reflecting on the ‘‘difficult year’’ the justice minister had dealing with controversies, ‘‘not of his own making’’.

Questioned on whether Shatter put too much credibility in the advice of his officials, Coveney admitted, ‘‘I’m not suggesting that mistakes weren’t made.’’

‘‘Clearly they were and Alan apologised for those mistakes but I’m saying if you look at Alan Shatter’s career as a minister for the last three years, the idea that this was a government that cannot get things done…

Coveney admitted that the government has made mistakes and ‘‘Alan has paid the price for that’’.

‘‘We had a justice minister who was involved with 40 pieces of legislation, very significant and influential pieces of legislation,’’ he said defending Shatter.

‘‘What we have today is that the Taoiseach and the government have had to act quickly on Alan Shatter’s decision yesterday to step down.

‘‘We’ve done that and I think we’ve put two very competent ministers in place,’’ he added.

‘‘Clearly on a personal level for Alan Shatter this is a very difficult day, as was yesterday, but I think it’s an exciting opportunity, particularly for Charlie Flanagan coming into the cabinet,’’ he said.

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