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Shatter braced for wrath of data chief over Wallace story


 Alan Shatter. Photo: PA

Alan Shatter. Photo: PA

Alan Shatter. Photo: PA

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has tried to play down an adverse finding by the Data Protection Commissioner involving his leak of sensitive information about Independent TD Mick Wallace.

The Justice Minister last night claimed that his actions were "dealt with fully" in the course of a Dail debate during which he apologised to Mr Wallace for what he described as a "mistake".

Mr Shatter was responding to revelations that his leaking of information about Mr Wallace was in breach of data protection laws. In his draft findings, Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes ruled that Mr Shatter broke the law by revealing on RTE's Primetime last May that Mr Wallace had been cautioned by gardai for using his phone while driving.

The draft finding, revealed in the Sunday Independent, will open Mr Shatter up to being sued by Mr Wallace.

But the finding will be used by the Opposition in their repeated calls for the Justice Minister to resign.

The emergence of Mr Hawke's draft findings prompted a furious response from Mr Shatter who hit out at the "leaking" of the details.

"In the circumstances, it is deeply disturbing that attempts are apparently being made to undermine the integrity of the investigation by the leaking of inaccurate information about an ongoing process," he said in a statement.

Mr Wallace did not respond to a request for comment last night.