Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD has expressed serious concern following the comments of Justice Minister Alan Shatter during an interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time last evening.
During a debate with Independent TD Mick Wallace, the Minister accused the Deputy of having benefitted from Garda discretion in an unrecorded incident last May, apparently relying on private information provided to him by the Gardai.
Deputy Collins commented, “The comments from Alan Shatter raise some very serious questions about the conduct of the Minister and his use of information provided to him.
“Fianna Fáil holds no brief for Mick Wallace, but the issues raised by Shatter’s intervention are bigger and more important than party politics or the hypocrisy of the Dáil Technical Group. They include the security of citizens’ private information, the right to due process and the use of private details for political purposes.
“Importantly, the entire incident also raises serious questions about the Minister’s judgement and his ability to treat the privileged information he receives as a Minster for Justice with the respect it deserves.
“Fianna Fáil has expressed growing concern about the behaviour and attitude of Alan Shatter and the effect these are having on the institutions he has responsibility for. His behaviour last evening, where he essentially betrayed the confidence of the Gardai and used private, privileged information to score a political point against an opponent further justifies those concerns.
“The position of Minister for Justice is one of the most sensitive and most important roles in the State. Both the public and the institutions charged with protecting the public need to have confidence and trust that the individual holding the post has the discretion and judgement to properly manage policing intelligence in an appropriate way. Minister Shatter’s performance on Prime Time did nothing to inspire such confidence or trust.
“I am calling on the Minister to make a statement on the matter at the earliest opportunity.”