Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice and Equality Niall Collins has called on the Tánaiste Joan Burton to confirm if she was told about the letters sent to both the Ceann Comhairle and the Taoiseach from Deputy Alan Shatter’s legal firm.

Deputy Collins said: “The fact is an unprecedented decision was made this week to stifle debate in the Dáil that was passing a motion to set up a Commission of Investigation into very serious matters. The Taoiseach has said the decision to rule out any debate on the motion was purely a matter for the Ceann Comhairle but we simply don’t have enough information about how this issue unfolded this week.

“We only found out for the first time on Wednesday about letters from Deputy Shatter’s legal firm to the Taoiseach and Ceann Comhairle. These letters date back to November last year. In light of that we need to know whether the Taoiseach spoke to the Tánaiste or Minister for Justice about receiving the letter from Deputy Shatter’s legal firm. If the Tánaiste and Minister Frances Fitzgerald were in the loop, was the matter discussed at Cabinet? Or was a decision taken not to disclose the letter to other Ministers?

“The fact that former minister Shatter’s legal representatives were seeking to have the Deputy excluded from the remit of the Commission of Investigation is an extremely serious matter. We need to have the full facts about what actions were taken when these letters were received by both the Taoiseach and the Ceann Comhairle.

“If the Tánaiste was not told and other ministers were deliberately kept in the dark there are further questions to be answered. Hiding behind a spurious interpretation of Standing Order 57 is simply not good enough.”