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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Shatter in Seanad row on 'personal attacks'

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

After having a go at the media, judges and bishops, Alan Shatter is now criticising his own Fine Gael colleagues in the Seanad.

The Justice Minister has complained to the head of the Seanad about "personal attacks" following a debate in the Upper House.

He claims comments were made by senators suggesting officials had "acted in a corrupt manner" and that he "was not properly briefed and matters were concealed from him".

A Department of Defence official wrote on Mr Shatter's behalf to two of the minister's Fine Gael colleagues -- the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Paddy Burke and Leader of the Seanad Maurice Cummins.

"The minister further understands that such comments would not be tolerated in the Dail and should stop in the Seanad," the official said in correspondence seen by the Irish Independent.

But Mr Shatter met his match in Mr Burke, who told him that as a minister he could "intervene in the debate at any time".

The row flared up during a Seanad debate on the Defence Amendment Bill 2011 a fortnight ago.

In heated exchanges, senators claimed the law was being changed to facilitate the appointment of one particular military judge.

After consulting with Mr Burke, an Oireachtas official wrote back to Mr Shatter's office, saying the minister's concerns were noted but the comments were "sufficiently general in nature not to warrant the intervention of the Chair".

Irish Independent

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