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Mattie McGrath: Onlooker leaked Shatter breathalyser details


Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Justice Minister Alan Shatter

PA Wire/Press Association Images


Justice Minister Alan Shatter

A GARDA did not leak details of Justice Minister Alan Shatter's failure to complete a breathalyser test, Independent TD Mattie McGrath revealed today.

Mr McGrath, who first raised the matter in the Dail yesterday, strongly hinted a member of the public came to him with the explosive information.

Asked did a garda approach him, the Tipperary South deputy said: “Unlike the minister (Shatter), I don't go around trawling into people's careers to find out what went on in the past.”

He added: “It's a public place (where Mr Shatter was stopped), on a public street in Pembroke, outside a pretty noted restaurant. People are out there smoking on the street, members of the public are there.

“Members of the public come to me with huge issues of concern and I check out the facts as best I can.”

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Mr McGrath said a garda report on the incident is in existence and he called on Mr Shatter to make it available.

“Of course there is a garda report. This was a mandatory checkpoint ... It's an offence for anybody in law ... not to provide a specimen. Gardai were left with no choice but to make a report on it,” Mr McGrath said.

He added that he is “sure all the facts are contained” in the document.

He reiterated that he wants Mr Shatter to go into the Dail and make a full statement on the matter.

“Every garda checkpoint has to be authorised by an officer above the rank of inspector. There are records in the garda stations of this checkpoint,” Mr McGrath said.

Mr Shatter denied he was cautioned by gardai at a checkpoint just prior to becoming Minister in 2011 -- as alleged by Mr McGrath -- but admitted he was stopped by officers and asked to supply a breath test on a previous occasion.

During Leaders' Questions yesterday, the Independent TD asked Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore if he or Taoiseach Enda Kenny were aware the Justice Minister was stopped at a checkpoint in Dublin in late February or March 2011.

In a subsequent statement, Mr Shatter denied any such event occurred at the time stated by Deputy McGrath.

However, he said he recalled an occasion in 2009, or possibly late 2008, when he was stopped at a Garda night-time mandatory checkpoint in Pembroke Street in Dublin.

“There was a queue of motorists and when I was reached, like those before me, my road tax and insurance discs were checked and I was asked to exhale into a breathalyser,” Mr Shatter said.

“I did so but failed to fully complete the task due to my being asthmatic.”

“I explained this to the garda. I also explained that I was on my way home from Dail Eireann and that I had consumed no alcohol of any nature that day. The garda consulted with another garda and I was waved on,” the minister said.

Fianna Fail has put down a motion of no confidence in Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

The motion will be debated in the Dail next week.

The motion comes following a week of controversy around Mr Shatter, following the publication of the penalty points report.