JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter was at the centre of controversy again today after a TD raised questions in the Dail about whether he tried to avoid a breathalyser test.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath asked Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore if he was aware if Mr Shatter had been stopped at a garda checkpoint, had been asked to produce a specimen of breath and whether “his behaviour and reaction to this request was appropriate and indeed cordial”.
Mr McMcGrath also asked if Mr Shatter had attempted to use the privilege enjoyed by TDs on not being arrested from travelling to and from the Dail “as a means of avoiding the breath test”.
Taniste Eamon Gilmore said he has “no idea” whether Mr Shatter was stopped at a garda checkpoint to be breathalysed.
Mr Gilmore said he had no information in relation to what Mr McGrath was raising.
“I have no idea if the Minister for Justice was stopped by gardai before the election, after the election. How would I know that?” he said.
Mr Gilmore said he remembered being stopped by Gardai at Galloping Green in Dublin himself and breath-tested “but happily I passed it”.
Mr McGrath said that Mr Gilmore should get Mr Shatter to make the garda report into the incident available immediately. And he also said that Mr Shatter should make a further statement to the Dail.
Mr Shatter was not in the Dail when the issue was raised but he is expected to issue a statement later today on the incident.
Mr Shatter has been under intense pressure over his handling of the controversy surrounding the quashing of fixed charged penalties for road traffic offences.
He revealed that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had briefed him about Mr Wallace being stopped by a garda at the Five Lamps in north Dublin while using a phone and driving.
Mr Shatter said it had been introduced as an aside and was necessary in case Mr Wallace had revealed it himself.
Mr Callinan has not commented on the briefing.