JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has said that he failed to complete a breathalyser test at a garda checkpoint because he was an asthmatic.
It came after a TD raised questions in the Dail about whether he tried to avoid a breathalyser test.
Mr Shatter said that there had been an occasion in 2009, or possibly late 2008, when there was a Garda night-time mandatory checkpoint in Pembroke Street in Dublin.
He said he had been in a queue of motorists and had his road tax and insurance discs checked. He said he was also asked to exhale into a breathalyser.
“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 Dáil Éireann and that I had consumed no alcohol of any nature that day. The Garda consulted with another Garda and I was waved on,” he said.
Mr Shatter said he had no drank any alcohol or committed any offence under the Road Traffic Acts. He said he had heard nothing else about the incident until it was raised by Independent TD Mattie McGrath in the Dail.
Mr McGrath had 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".
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said he has "no idea" whether Mr Shatter was stopped at a garda checkpoint to be breathalysed.