Wednesday 13 December 2017

Justice minister was 'pushed' says Wallace

David Tucker

DEPUTY Mick Wallace says former Justice Minister Alan Shatter was pushed and would never have resigned by choice.

'It was just an accumulation of things. We were saying all along that Enda would give him 100 per cent until he gave it zero,' he said of Mr. Shatter's shock resignation ahead of the publication of the Guerin Report.

In his 300-page report on a dossier of claims handed in by garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe, Barrister Sean Guerin concluded that the gardai and Mr. Shatter failed in their duties to properly investigate matters raised by Sgt McCabe.

'It was reaching the stage that it was problematic for the Coalition and Fine Gael and that's what politicians do, they get rid of the problem and the problem was Mr. Shatter,' Mr. Wallace told this newspaper on Monday evening.

Asked whether he thought, there would be a major shake up at the Department of Justice in the wake of the report, Mr. Wallace described it as a 'serious bastion of conservatism that would be slow to change.'

He described as 'very disappointing' comments by Transport Minister Leo Varadker that it was hard to stomach Deputy Wallace being perceived as a victim.

Mr Varadker said: 'He (Deputy Wallace) is a deputy I like a lot on a personal level. But let's not forget he is somebody that has broken the law himself, and a much more serious law.

'He broke our tax laws. And as well as that, this whole issue came to light when he was on television complaining about Garda discretion when he had actually availed of Garda discretion himself.'

According to Deputy Wallace what he (Varadker) was doing 'was bringing up my former company and its inability to pay a VAT payment in order to defend Mr. Shatter, and then over the weekend Mr. Varadker was out telling of us of the need for reform,' said the Wexford deputy. He said the Coalition government was reactive, not proactive, and in the past had no problem with how policing was being done 'and now they are all in favour of reform'.

'It emphasises how poorly politicians perform and how they are not honest in the way they deal with issues.

'They don't have an appetite to make things right, they just have an appetite to get re-elected and for power,' said the Deputy.

He said the Guerin Report was just the tip of the iceberg and that 'there are terrible things that have happened, you haven't heard the half of it.'

'What happened, happened over a long period of time. It didn't happen on Shatter's watch.

'It started at the top. Alan Shatter is a very capable individual and has been fearless on issues like abortion and same sex marriage, but he came a cropper on policing by refusing to deal with the issues.'

Last July, Mr. Wallace tabled a private members bill, which failed to gain any traction in the Dail.

In it, he called for the strengthening of the independence and functions of the Office of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and to provide for the establishment of a body to be known as the Garda Síochána Independent Board with monitoring, oversight and supervisory functions over the Garda Síochána.'

Speaking to RTE at the weekend, Mr. Varadker said Deputy Wallace had been 'brave' in tabling the bill.

New Ross Standard

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