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Saturday 19 October 2019

FG ministers defend Shatter as Wallace row deepens

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

FINE Gael ministers are defending Justice Minister Alan Shatter as the row over his use of information about Independent TD Mick Wallace deepens.

Labour TDs are calling on Mr Shatter to explain where he received information alleging that Mr Wallace escaped penalty points for using his mobile phone while driving because of garda discretion.

But Fine Gael is backing Mr Shatter up – with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton saying the information is in the “public interest”.

And Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said: “I think this is complete distraction from the main issue.

 “We’re not going to be lectured, quite frankly, by people who don’t pay their tax and have a huge tax liability to the Irish State,” he told RTE Radio’s ‘This Week’ programme.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said she expects Mr Shatter to answer Dail queries on the issue, amid calls from Labour backbenchers for him to make a statement on the matter.

“The minister I understand is subject to a number of questions in the Dail on the issue and as I understand he will be answering those I’m sure in due course,” Ms Burton said.

“In my view that is the proper forum where the minister will address any of the issues.”

But Ms Burton dodged questions on whether it was appropriate for Mr Shatter to use the information during live television.

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