Friday 27 April 2018

Former minister Alan Shatter: 'I haven't spoken to Enda Kenny in three months'

Former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

Sam Griffin

FORMER minister Alan Shatter says he wasn’t shafted by Enda Kenny and described him as an “extraordinary politican”.

However he said he hasn’t spoken with the Taoiseach in over three months.

Mr Shatter also defended his handling of a series of allegations made against gardai and said he took the allegations made by garda whsitleblowers “very seriously”.

The former justice minister, who resigned from cabinet in May this year, made the comments tonight during an interview on the Late Late Show.

“No I wasn’t shafted by Enda Kenny,” he said.

“I got a text message from the Taoiseach. He said he had the Guerin report and that it was a serious matter and asked that I meet him.

He added he was surprised the report, which investigated allegations of garda misconduct, was produced so quickly.

“I thought it would take longer.”

The Taoiseach informed him that his handling of the report could “impact the life of the government,” Shatter told Ryan Tubridy.

“It was a 350-page report and I was about to go to Arbour Hill [prison]. I said I would look at the report.

“I commenced reading portions of the report, there was no time to read all. I identified first couple of chapters and went to read that part of the report that addressed issues relating to myself to myself."

Mr Shatter recalled that he was "surprised" conclusions had been made in the report since he had not been consulted by Mr Guerin.

"I was very surprised it contained opinions and conclusions on matters that I dealt with as minister, particularly because Mr Guerin hadn’t asked me any questions, hadn’t been in contact with me… had given me no opportunity to comment on a draft report.”

He said his analysis was that his position was “untenable”, having read the report.

Mr Shatter resigned from cabinet on May 7 ahead of the publication of the 330-page Guerin Report.

The report praised the garda whistleblowers and said previous internal garda inquiries into malpractices had been inadequate.

When he stepped down, Mr Shatter opted to accept his severance payment but donated the €70,000 to the Jack and Jill Foundation.

A month later he addressed the Dail for the first time. He criticised the Guerin Report and accused Mr Guerin, a Senior Counsel, of creating ‘kangaroo courts’ and of rushing to judgement.

He has since launched a High Court challenge against some of the findings of that report as well as formally appealing the decision by the Data Protection Commissioner after it was found Mr Shatter had unlawfully disclosed Mick Wallace’s private information on RTE’s Prime Time programme.

Last week the Fine Gael TD for Dublin South called for GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien to step down from his post after the Ombudsman failed to find the source of a leak to a Sunday newspaper after GSOC had ordered a UK intelligence frim to conduct a sweep when it became concerned its offices had been bugged.

The former minister was pressed on the Taoiseach’s role in the decision by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to step down. However Mr Shatter refused to comment on the matter.

When asked if he would return to the cabinet table if asked, he said “of course” and hinted he would contests another Dail election if supported by the Fine Gael party. He also criticised some cabinet colleagues.

“There’s always someone who feels the need to engage in gossip,” he said.

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