Commission says no basis for inquiry into complaints about Shatter

Wallace and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan had complained about penalty point comments

Luke “Ming” Flanagan: complained about comments made by Alan Shatter during the penalty points row last year.

Luke “Ming” Flanagan: complained about comments made by Alan Shatter during the penalty points row last year.

Thu, Jan 16, 2014, 01:00

The Standards in Public Office Commission has concluded that there is no basis to open an investigation into complaints made by two TDs against Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

Wexford TD Mick Wallace and Roscommon TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan had complained about comments made by Mr Shatter during the penalty points row last year.

Mr Wallace lodged a formal complaint with the commission under the Standards in Public Office Act of 2001 about comments made by Mr Shatter on the RTÉ Prime Time programme of May 16th last.

On the programme, Mr Shatter referred to the fact that Mr Wallace had been stopped and cautioned by gardaí for using a mobile phone in his car.

Mr Wallace also claimed a press release issued by the Minister on May 15th contained improperly obtained and incorrect information regarding a Garda investigation into the termination of his penalty points.


Letter to Minister
In a letter to Mr Shatter dated January 14th, the commission said an inquiry officer had been appointed to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the complaints.

“The Standards Commission has received and considered the report of the Inquiry Officer into the complaints. At its meeting on December 9th, 2013, it decided that there was no basis on which to initiate an investigation under the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001 into the complaints . . .

“The commission noted that the information regarding the incidents was provided to you by the Garda Commissioner in accordance with section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and was not therefore improperly obtained.”

In addition it decided the remarks on Prime Time, and the release of information concerning Mr Flanagan were not matters of public importance, and thus not covered by the Act.