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How much time is left for Shatter?

THERE is a reputed golden rule, attributed to spin doctor Alastair Campbell, that if a politician is attracting negative headlines for a week or more, his days are numbered.

It is unclear whether such a scenario will play out in the case of Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who faces a no-confidence motion in the Dail today.

But the controversy over his Department's handling of the garda station bugging issue has continued for nine days now.

It remains unclear how a letter sent by the then Garda Commissioner to Mr Shatter's Department was not seen by the minister for 15 days. Mr Shatter has yet to provide a clear explanation for, or justification of, this delay.

The bugging issue followed a separate controversy over his refusal to apologise to garda whistleblowers for several months.

The minister will survive tonight's vote – but how much longer will he be in his job?