Adams says AG must have feared phone was tapped

SF president insists Shatter is not fit to preside over necessary reform of policing

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has called for Alan Shatter to stand down as Minister for Justice and for a radical overhaul of the system of policing. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has called for Alan Shatter to stand down as Minister for Justice and for a radical overhaul of the system of policing. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 14:29

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has called for Alan Shatter to stand down as Minister for Justice and for a radical overhaul of the system of policing.

Mr Adams also said he believed the Attorney General must have feared her phone was tapped as she was willing to discuss the Garda controversy with the Taoiseach only in person.

Speaking before a Sinn Féin rally for election candidates in Drogehda, he said An Garda Síochána needed root and branch reform and this could not be presided over by Mr Shatter.

Denying the issue began and ended with the position of Mr Shatter, Mr Adams explained: “The underpinning issue is changing the way system works. We need a Garda authority, we need proper partnership groups and committees right through the entire structure and the regions.

“We can’t have a chief commissioner solely responsible to any politician whoever that politician is,” he said.

Raising the issue of a possible phone tap on Attorney General Máire Whelan’s phone, Mr Adams said: “Think of what happened last week. The Taoiseach came into the Dáil and said he was having a telephone conversation with the Attorney General on an unrelated issue. The Attorney General then said there is a very important issue, but she didn’t want to talk about it on the phone.

“The Attorney General obviously had a suspicion that her phone was tapped. Whether it was or wasn’t I don’t know. That she couldn’t even have a conversation with the Taoiseach about this issue shows you the unprecedented nature of the type of scandals that this minister is presiding over.”

Pointing to the many and widespread ramifications of the bugging scandal, Mr Adams said: The two Garda whistleblowers “have showed the way and shone the light,” he said adding that he hoped their example would motivate others to step forward in the face wrongdoing.

“Let’s get the reform of the system in a root and branch way,” he said. “We can’t have this minister presiding over that.”

Mr Adams denied he was personalising the issue around Mr Shatter. “We need a new minister. There is hopefully going to be new structures and a new [Garda] Commissioner, so there needs to be a new minister.”

Asked about his party’s prospects in the European and local elections both North and South in May, Mr Adams forecast that “even on a bad day” the party would return “the largest number of Sinn Féin representatives”.