Minister for Justice has not ‘failed in any respect’, Bruton tells Dáil
Taoiseach’s defence of Shatter makes him ‘church mouse’ not ‘mighty mouse’, FF’s Dara Calleary says
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton: refused to be drawn when asked if Garda Commissioner should resign if he failed to apologise to whistleblowers. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
Minister refused to be drawn when asked if the Garda Commissioner should resign if he failed to apologise to whistleblowers for his response to their exposure of malpractice in the penalty points system.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said Martin Callinan had clarified the context in which he used the word “disgusting” about the whistleblowers going public about the controversy.
Mr Bruton was challenged in the Dáil by Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who also renewed the party’s call for Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to apologise.
If Mr Shatter “isn’t manly enough to apologise isn’t it time for him to resign his position?”
However, Mr Bruton said: “I do not accept that the Minister for Justice has failed in any respect.”
Mr Ó Snodaigh then asked the Minister to push the Garda Commissioner to “apologise to the two people” whose actions had brought about the changes to reform the penalty points system, “for the insult to them by the way he has stood over the system”.
Mr Bruton replied that the commissioner had introduced new measures following the initial assessment of the allegations of malpractice, but the Garda Inspectorate report had “clearly stated that the procedures need further improvement”.
Earlier, Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary described Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s response to calls for Mr Shatter to resign as “unbelievably weak” and “lily-livered”.
He said Mr Kenny’s “spin doctors” were portraying him as a “mighty mouse this week because of Frank Flannery’s stepping aside, but it seems he is a church mouse in the case of the Minister for Justice”.
Mr Calleary accused Mr Shatter of “using the privileges of the legislature to abuse the reputation of a servant of the State”.
Mr Calleary asked: “Why does he not say ‘sorry’. Is it not in his dictionary? He has committed a wrong, a serious wrong.”
‘Abuses his office’
The Fianna Fáil TD said Minister for Health James Reilly “champions himself as trying to change the culture in the health service and encouraging people, persuading staff to say ‘sorry’.
“Why is the Taoiseach allowing a situation that a Minister abuses his office in this House and on the national airwaves and doesn’t force him to apologise?” Mr Calleary asked.