Callinan sacked to save Shatter - Fianna Fáil

TDs warned if they vote confidence in Minister they vote for his handling of ‘everything’

Eight Fine Gael backbenchers were in the chamber but no Labour TDs were present at the start of the no confidence debate. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Eight Fine Gael backbenchers were in the chamber but no Labour TDs were present at the start of the no confidence debate. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Tue, Apr 1, 2014, 20:48

Debate has begun in the Dáil on a Fianna Fáil motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

Mr Shatter was flanked by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney at the opening of the debate which will last for 90 minutes tonight and again tomorrow evening before a vote is taken.

Eight Fine Gael backbenchers were in the chamber for the start of the debate but no Labour TDs were present at the start of the debate but four arrived in after the first 20 minutes.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald later joined her Cabinet colleagues on the Government benches.

Opening the debate Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins told Mr Shatter “the Garda Commissioner was shafted to save your skin”.

The Limerick TD asked why it took 15 days for the Minister to see the letter from the Garda Commissioner to the Secretary General of the Department of Justice revealing the systematic taping of phone conversations in Garda stations.

Mr Collins noted that the Commissioner’s letter, the full contents of which were released this evening, specifically said “please inform the Minister” about the tapes.

He said the Minister was steadfastly refusing to apologise for the mistreatment of the Garda whistleblowers who revealed malpractice in the quashing of penalty points for driving offences.

“And yet conveniently” the Government then came in and announced that new and important and grave information had come to the Government’s attention.

“Yet all that information was out there, in the domain of the civil and public service and indeed in the public domain”.

But the Government came in and claimed the information “came out of left field and took everybody by surprise”.

Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen said the “three strikes and you’re out” did not apply. “You need to have four or five strikes for this Minister in relation to his handling of the various affairs.”

He said Mr Shatter “is not capable of administering justice”.

Mayo TD Dara Calleary told the Government benches that if they voted confidence in the Minister they were voting full confidence in every action he took.

If they voted confidence in Mr Shatter they were “voting confidence in a Minister who is not in control of his own Department”.