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Shatter tried to avoid a breath test, claims TD

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Minister for Justice and Defence  Alan Shatter pictured with Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform  as they arrives at Arbour Hill for the Annual  1916 Commemoration Ceremonies yesterday.

Pic Frank Mc Grath

Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter pictured with Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform as they arrives at Arbour Hill for the Annual 1916 Commemoration Ceremonies yesterday. Pic Frank Mc Grath

Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter pictured with Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform as they arrives at Arbour Hill for the Annual 1916 Commemoration Ceremonies yesterday. Pic Frank Mc Grath

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter attempted to avoid a roadside breath test, it was suggested in the Dail today.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath questioned whether the minister had tried to escape taking a breathalyser test when stopped by gardai.

Mr McGrath asked Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore if he was aware that Mr Shatter had been stopped at a garda checkpoint, had been asked to produce a specimen of breath and whether "his behaviour and reaction to this request was appropriate and indeed cordial".

He also asked if Mr Shatter had attempted to use the privilege enjoyed by TDs that prevents them from being arrested while travelling to and from the Dail "as a means of avoiding the breath test".

Responding during Leaders' Questions, Mr Gilmore said that he had "no idea" if this was the case or not.

"I have no idea if the Minister for Justice was stopped by gardai before the election, after the election. How would I know that?" he said.

Mr McGrath has demanded that the Justice Minister make a statement to the Dail on the issue. He also insisted that Mr Gilmore should get his Cabinet colleague to make the garda report into the incident available immediately.

Mr Shatter's spokesman said that they were not in a position to comment on the claims at the time of going to press.

Mr Shatter has spent most of this week fighting allegations that he abused his position by revealing details of Mick Wallace using a mobile phone while driving.

He revealed the information that he received from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan during a live debate on RTE's Prime Time last Thursday.

The incident has been reported to Data Protection Commissioner and the Standards in Public Office commission for investigation.

Mr Wallace is also still calling for a full public inquiry into the penalty points affair.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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