Alan Shatter will not seek Fine Gael nomination

Former justice minister says the party’s politics now ‘too much smoke and mirrors’

Alan Shatter resigned as minister for justice in 2014 amid controversy over his Department’s handling of the whistleblower Maurice McCabe case. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

Alan Shatter resigned as minister for justice in 2014 amid controversy over his Department’s handling of the whistleblower Maurice McCabe case. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

 

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has confirmed he will not seek a nomination to stand for Fine Gael at the next general election.

There had been speculation Mr Shatter would put his name forward but hours ahead of the deadline for nominations for the Dublin-Rathdown constituency convention, Mr Shatter issued a statement to The Irish Times.

“I could not in good conscience mislead the electorate into believing Fine Gael is presently any more worthy of electoral support than some others on the ballot box,” he said.

“Too much of today’s Fine Gael politics is smoke and mirrors and about appearance and self promotion. Too little of it is about principle, fairness and integrity.”

The names going forward for the convention to be held on November 20th are those of TD Josepha Madigan and Senator Neale Richmond.

Mr Shatter lost out in the newly-created three-seat constituency in 2016 to Ms Madigan. The other two seats were won by the Independent Shane Ross and the Green Party’s Catherine Martin.

Mr Shatter had resigned as minister for justice in 2014 amid controversy over his Department’s handling of the case of the whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

In particular, he was criticised for his role in a report written by senior counsel Sean Guerin. Mr Shatter subsequently took a successful court challenge against the report, asserting, among other things, that it had not followed fair procedures. The case is currently being appealed by the Government.

The O’Higgins report found Mr Shatter handled complaints made by Sgt McCabe in a professional and appropriate manner.

In his statement released on Monday night, Mr Shatter said he wished to thank supporters who had urged his nomination.

“It has been my painful experience that there is an unacceptable disparity between the public face and private reality of the manner in which todays Fine Gael party and leadership politically engage.

“From my personal experience over the last three years I could not in good conscience ask the electorate in Dublin-Rathdown constituency and those who have voted for me in the past to vote for an unreformed Fine Gael in the next Dáil.”

He said that what used to be core Fine Gael principles of integrity, decency, truth telling, and fairness were no longer the obligatory moral touchstones.

“Too many decisions are made and actions taken in the shadows with a sense of impunity, too many off the record briefings take place to mislead and too many games of charades are played to deceive the public.”

He also criticised the party leadership for its focus on communication and public relations, as well as its leadership and senior officials in its headquarters, who he claimed “wield too much power and have been in charge for longer than is healthy in any democratic political party”.