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Shatter sickened by Ming's 'moral soapbox'

INDEPENDENT TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan "standing on a moral soapbox" makes it difficult "not to throw up", Justice Minster Alan Shatter claimed in heated Dail exchanges.

Mr Shatter was responding to claims from Mr Flanagan that gardai were quashing penalty points and bringing the force into disrepute.

"And that isn't because the vast majority of the gardai is corrupt," Mr Flanagan said.

"Anything but – the vast majority of them are straight as a pin – but the facts are until you have a system that proves and guarantees that it is fair for everyone, then everyone is under suspicion."

It comes after Mr Flanagan last week called An Garda Siochana "a corrupt police force", and he further claimed yesterday that questions about the gardai went higher than penalty points.

"This goes to murder," Mr Flanagan said, mentioning Fr Niall Molloy, the Roscommon priest beaten to death in 1985.

But Mr Shatter said it was difficult to listen to Mr Flanagan, who encouraged people not to pay the household charge and who has convictions for drugs offences.

"I'm afraid the sound of the deputy in full flight standing on a moral soapbox just makes it a little difficult not to totally throw up," Mr Shatter said.

"This from a member of this house who believes it is appropriate that 70 to 75pc of people pay their property tax but is happy to encourage others not to do so.

"This from a member of this house who has encouraged people to violate law and create difficulties for this State in a European context. This from a deputy who boasts of his drug taking, this from a deputy who has been convicted.

"Just be aware that the soapbox you're standing on is resting on sand – quicksand."

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