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Monday 22 January 2018

Shatter says ex-AGs' call for 'No' votes is nonsense

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter fired a stinging response to former Attorneys General who are advocating a 'No' vote in both upcoming referendums -- even criticising one who chaired AIB during the boom.

He also said others who had signed an open letter were part of governments which implemented ruinous policies.

Dermot Gleeson and seven other AGs -- including Michael McDowell and Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International -- have said they "strongly opposed" proposals to give more investigative powers to TDs and senators.

And while they supported reducing judges' pay in principle, they said the proposal by Government to do so gives "insufficient" protection to the judiciary.

But Mr Shatter yesterday called their statement "nonsense", saying that it had "no real credibility".

And he singled out Mr Gleeson, who was AG in the Rainbow Coalition in the mid-1990s. Mr Gleeson later served six years as chairman of AIB, stepping down in 2009.

"Indeed, one particular individual was chairman of AIB bank at a time when AIB was lending enormous sums of money to developers in very unwise circumstances," Mr Shatter said.

Meanwhile, Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman John McGuinness urged people to vote 'No' to the investigative proposal.

"I believe the State already has enough power -- and the powers being sought will do nothing but create expense and controversy," he told the Irish Independent. "But, particularly, I will vote 'No' because I believe it offends principles of natural justice and the rights of the individual."

He is the second Fianna Fail TD to come out in defiance of party leader Micheal Martin, who is supporting a 'Yes' vote.

The stand taken by Mr McGuinness and health spokesman Billy Kelleher will damage Mr Martin -- even though both voted for the proposal in the Dail.

Presidential candidate Mary Davis also called for a 'No' vote.

Irish Independent

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