Rabbitte dismisses Shatter controversy as a ‘bottle of smoke’

Minister for Communications says matter is one of ‘exceeding triviality’

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has dismissed the controversy surrounding Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the political row about Garda discretion as a “bottle of smoke”.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has dismissed the controversy surrounding Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the political row about Garda discretion as a “bottle of smoke”.

Sun, May 26, 2013, 13:48

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has dismissed the controversy surrounding Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the political row about Garda discretion as a “bottle of smoke”.

Mr Rabbitte said if a Garda record existed of Mr Shatter’s unsuccessful attempt to complete a breathalyser test when he was stopped at a Garda checkpoint some four years ago, he was sure the Minister would be willing to use his powers to make it available.

“This is a completely trivial controversy, it’s a bottle of smoke,” he said.

Mr Rabbitte said Mr Shatter should not have made the remark he made on Prime Time, when he disclosed details of a minor “ticking off” of Independent TD Mick Wallace by gardaí for using a mobile phone while driving.

However, Mr Rabbitte said Mr Shatter would not have disclosed anything of significance. “This was a matter of exceeding triviality. It was more gossip than anything else,” he told The Week in Politics on RTE this afternoon. He also described Mr Shatter as a “workaholic”.

“We’re five years into the worst economic crisis that has ever afflicted this country since its independence and we’ve spent ten days on an entirely superficial and trivial issue where even the newspapers today admit that they can’t dig up anything else on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. Who is a particularly effective, reforming and hard working minister. He apologised for his lapse on the programme and really what else can be said?”