Thursday 21 November 2019

Varadkar: ‘I have complete confidence in Alan Shatter and Attorney General’

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has said he has "absolute confidence" in both Alan Shatter and the Attorney General Maire Whelan.

However, Mr Varadkar accepted that he had differences with the Justice Minister which were ironed out at a meeting in government buildings yesterday.

Speaking at an event in Dublin, the Fine Gael minister said he personally finds the revelations surrounding the garda tapes as "quite confusing".

But he said he is confident that all matters at hand will be dealt with by the Commission of Investigation and the new garda authority.

Asked if he had full confidence in Mr Shatter, the Transport Minister said:

"I have absolute confidence in Alan Shatter...The government made a huge decision yesterday to establish an independent garda authority, and given his success in other areas, I think Alan Shatter is absolutely the man to bring those reforms about and make sure that they happen."

Mr Varadkar said that he held a formal meeting with his cabinet colleague yesterday during which consensus was reached on a number of road traffic incidents. But he refused to say whether he believed Mr Shatter should apologise to the garda whistleblowers, ahead of his second appearance in the Dail this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Dublin West TD said that he himself is struggling to digest the revelations surrounding the taping of phone calls at garda stations across the country.

"The whole thing is quite confusing. The cabinet and most ministers only became aware of most of these things in the last couple of days so I think we still need to try and absorb  all this information.I've difficulty getting my head around it at the moment," he said at a Restaurant Association of Ireland conference in the Shelbourne Hotel.

"The whole situation is really evolving. I would really ask people to give us all a bit of time to get our heads around it. Nobody should jump to any conclusions at this stage. We have established a commission of inquiry to look into all of this. We're setting up a garda authority. This is not a government that brushes things under the carpet. All these matters will be dealt with."

Asked about the decision by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to step down, Mr Varadkar said it was a move he did not anticipate.


Further Reading

- Shatter refuses to accept any blame

- Phone calls at all divisional Gardai HQ were taped

- Alan Shatter's statement in full

- Alan Shatter's career on a knife-edge in garda tapes scandal

- New politics? It's more a case of 1983 all over again

- Developments, twists, turns and reality checks in a day of surprises at Cabinet

- 'Tapegate' inquiry a necessary distraction

- GUBU barely does justice to scandal

- Profile: Noirin O'Sullivan

- Recording may amount to criminal offence

- Commissioner proved unwilling – or unable – to make an apology

- Callinan 'would not be true to his word' if he said sorry to the whistleblowers

- Shatter's fate hanging in the balance

- Permission to be boring, sir?

- Evidence excluded in trial of gardai because of taped calls

- Lise Hand on a day of high drama  

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