Alan Shatter ‘spat at’ and ‘abused’ after leaving minister role

Former TD felt he was treated like a murderer and lost faith in truth being important

Alan Shatter has said he lost faith in the belief that telling the truth mattered for a period after leaving his role as minister for justice. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Alan Shatter has said he lost faith in the belief that telling the truth mattered for a period after leaving his role as minister for justice. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

 

Former TD Alan Shatter has said he lost faith in the belief that telling the truth mattered for a period after leaving his role as minister for justice.

Mr Shatter said he questioned “that you would be believed” following his departure from the role after a series of policing controversies rocked the then Fine Gael-Labour coalition.

“One felt like one had either murdered someone or robbed a bank the way people were in hot pursuit of you,” he said.

The O’Higgins report into alleged malpractice by gardaí in the Cavan-Monaghan division raised by whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe, which was published this week, found that MR Shatter acted professionally at all times in dealing with the concerns.

An earlier report by Seán Guerin SC said Mr Shatter did not heed Sgt McCabe’s allegations, and was published shortly before his departure from office.

Mr Shatter on Thursday accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of mistakenly telling the Dáil that he took responsibility for reacting inadequately to allegations of Garda malpractice raised by Sgt McCabe. He has asked Mr Kenny to correct the Dáil record over the Guerin report.

Extraordinarily difficult

On Friday, Mr Shatter told RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke that the past two years had been extraordinarily difficult for him and for him family.

“It’s very difficult when you’re in a situation when you know you’re telling the truth on matters of genuine public importance, where you understand you dealt with matters in a carefully, reasoned way, to find yourself constantly accused of lying, being accused of incompetence,” he said.

“I was shouted at and abused by people on the streets, I was the object of continuing abuse on social media. On one occasion a cyclist spat at me.”

Mr Shatter said that when he and he wife tried to “get away from all of this” for a holiday in France after his resignation he was “subjected to a tirade from an Irish guy” who had travelled on the same flight.”

“I’m not saying my experiences were so terrible in the context and comparison with others and the issues raised.”

Mr Shatter went on to thank Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins “for the careful way in which he dealt with his investigation, for the care he took to ensure fair procedures were applied”.