Government defeats FF no-confidence motion in Minister for Justice

Government backbenchers rally to Shatter’s defence as Opposition renew resignation calls

Minister for Justice  Alan Shatter: Survived motion of no confidence

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter: Survived motion of no confidence


The Government last night comfortably voted down a Fianna Fáil motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

The resumed debate produced heated contributions from Government and Opposition speakers.

As Opposition TDs renewed their call on Mr Shatter to resign, several Government TDs expressed support for the Minister in brief contributions.

Clare Daly (Ind) claimed a woman in the public gallery, who had been abused horrendously by her father, had provided detailed statements with her mother to the Garda relating to serious allegations against Mr Shatter concerning perverting and obstructing the course of justice and other matters.

Mick Wallace (Ind) said the Minister’s handling of various issues had been disastrous and lacked any appetite for truth, transparency or accountability.

“This place is disconnected from the real world,’’ Mr Wallace added. “Fine Gael and Labour will vote confidence in Mr Shatter tonight and say that everything is grand.’’

A joke
Mr Wallace said there were not many people outside of the Dáil who thought everything was grand. “It is a joke . . . it really is . . . what you are standing over relating to Mr Shatter.’’

Joe Higgins (Socialist Party) accused the Minister of attempting to protect the senior echelons of An Garda Síochána when issues surfaced which brought their role into serious question.

Dara Murphy (FG) argued that no Minister had shown the same level of compassion or work ethic of Mr Shatter.

Anne Ferris (Lab) said many of the serious pigeons which come home to roost in the Department of Justice had been launched into orbit by Fianna Fáil. “Over the past three years, the Government, including the Minister for Justice, has put considerable effort into undoing inherited legal problems and their social impact.’’

Jerry Buttimer (FG) said the Minister’s achievements should be contrasted with the inept failure of Fianna Fáil in government.

Repeating his view that Mr Shatter should resign, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused the Minister of hiding from the media for the past month.

“It is over three weeks since he last did an interview of any type,’’ he added. “He has turned down interview requests from every broadcaster and newspaper in the country, which is unprecedented in our modern history.’’

Justice system
Timmy Dooley (FF) said the issue was the Minister’s stewardship of the justice system over the past 18 months. “What is at issue is your capacity to manage,’’ Mr Dooley added. “There is a big difference between your capacity to legislate and your capacity to manage.’’

Michael McGrath (FF) said the material sent to the Minister’s home earlier in the day was utterly reprehensible. The issues which had arisen over recent months had become so confusing and a tangled web, perpetuated by Mr Shatter’s handling of them.

He predicted that the Minister’s days were numbered because he was a serious political liability.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said Mr Shatter’s record over the past three years showed he had outstanding competence.

“The approach of the Opposition, particularly the approach of Fianna Fáil who moved this motion, is totally dishonest and all the pretend outrage from the benches opposite does not hide that fact.’’