Poll shows little confidence in Shatter to resolve crisis

Voters unhappy over handling of issue with 82% saying Minister’s reputation damaged

Garda Reserve Xiao Du from Finglas  at the Reserve Graduation ceremony at the Garda College, Templemore. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Garda Reserve Xiao Du from Finglas at the Reserve Graduation ceremony at the Garda College, Templemore. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons


The credibility of the Government has taken a battering over its handling of controversies in the Garda, with little public confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to oversee a resolution to the crisis, according to the latest Irish Times /Ipsos MRBI poll.

In the poll, voters were asked whether the reputations of several individuals or institutions have been enhanced or damaged by the way they have handled the issue.

Mr Shatter comes off worst, with 82 per cent of respondents saying his reputation has been damaged. He is closely followed by former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan, with 79 per cent saying he has been damaged.

Some 74 per cent said the reputation of An Garda Síochána has been damaged by the events.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also fares badly, with 70 per cent saying his reputation has been damaged, while Fine Gael follows closely on 69 per cent and the Labour Party fares slightly better on 63 per cent.

Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson come out far better, with 39 per cent feeling their reputations have been damaged compared to 47 per cent saying they have been enhanced.

Coalition worries
The Opposition parties and Independent TDs also emerged with their reputations enhanced from the controversy.

What will be worrying for the Government is that a substantial majority of Fine Gael voters believe Mr Shatter’s reputation has been damaged and half of them believe Mr Kenny’s reputation has suffered.

Unsurprisingly, supporters of Opposition parties and Independents believe the reputations of the Minister for Justice, Taoiseach and former Garda commissioner have been damaged.

The survey was undertaken on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,000 voters aged 18 and over, in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all constituencies.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.

Asked if they were confident or not in Mr Shatter’s ability to oversee a resolution to the crisis, 16 per cent said they were, 69 per cent said they were not and 15 per cent had no opinion.

There was more support for Mr Shatter in Dublin than in the rest of the country, with significantly more people in the capital confident he could do the job.

There was no great variation in views across the social spectrum or the various age groups.

Fine Gael voters were far more likely than supporters of other parties to express confidence in the Minister.

However, even among them a majority did not have confidence he could deal with the Garda issue.

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil voters expressed the least confidence in Mr Shatter’s capacity to deal with the situation.

Asked if Mr Callinan was right to step down from his post, 59 per cent of voters said he was, 25 per cent said he should have remained in situ and 15 per cent had no opinion.

A majority of supporters of all parties felt he was right to depart. Better off and older voters were more inclined to say he should have stayed on.