Alan Shatter: Frenzy and Betrayal

 

Sir, – I refer to the odd and intemperate article by Diarmaid Ferriter egregiously entitled “Shatter should not use his religion to avoid his own hubris” (Opinion & Analysis, June 8th) in which he castigates me for “claiming anti-Semitism as a cause of ( my) downfall” in my recently published book Frenzy and Betrayal.

Of course, I make no such claim.

Among the book’s 45 chapters and 450 pages there is a single chapter, 10 pages long, entitled “The Arrogant and Perfidious Jew”, which simply details factual contemporaneous events of relevance to the books narrative and gives them context.

If Diarmaid Ferriter fully read Frenzy and Betrayal before writing his disparaging article, he would know that the catalyst to my forced resignation from government was, as I relate, the flawed preliminary inquiry conducted by Sean Guerin SC and his mistaken critical conclusions which were discredited by the O’Higgins commission report published two years after my resignation. Judgements of both the Court of Appeal (November 2016) and the Supreme Court (February 2019) confirmed the Guerin inquiry’s flaws.

A central theme of Frenzy and Betrayal is the primacy too frequently given in both journalism and politics to opinion and belief over truth and objective facts. The book is also concerned with the importance of the rule of law, constitutional norms, the need to ensure individuals are not unfairly condemned and reputations destroyed without due process and the importance of standards, values and principles in both politics and journalism. A critical assertion I make is that “truth matters” and detail how it was ignored in Dáil debates, media reports and commentaries relating to various Garda-related political controversies.

These are big themes and important issues in today’s Ireland and across the globe.

It is disappointing that an historian of Diarmaid Ferriter’s stature chose to ignore them and instead focused critically on a claim I did not make. Why he pejoratively did so with much vitriol only he can explain.

I would have assumed truth and factual accuracy are regarded by Prof Ferriter as vital in the writing of history and that he would welcome a primary source truthfully writing about unprecedented political events in which the writer was involved.

I would have also expected he would have avoided the temptation to denigrate my character, having never met me, and would not have recycled and adopted a derogatory depiction spread by political rivals and opponents and also discommoded journalists who resented my truthfully and correctly challenging the veracity of false narratives and favoured alternative “facts”.

Finally, for the sake of historical accuracy, the election time Shatter balls that Diarmaid Ferriter wrongly describes as tennis balls were rubber, of various colours, bouncy and unfit for tennis. It is best that new alternative facts are not thrown around and that for the sake of history they are correctly depicted and remembered! – Yours, etc,

ALAN SHATTER,

Dublin 16.