8 TDs call on embattled Shatter to resign over row

Eight TDs yesterday called on embattled Justice Minister Alan Shatter to resign in the wake of the alleged bugging of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman’s offices.

Independent TD Shane Ross told a news conference the minister should resign. “I think his position is untenable as a result of a series of difficulties he had got himself into.”

Former junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall claimed Mr Shatter had failed a test of both judgment and character.

“In my view Mr Shatter has failed that test because he hasn’t been prepared to stand up for what is clearly right and he hasn’t been prepared to defend an independent oversight system (GSOC)… We can’t have a healthy modern police force unless there is clear oversight and we need a government that’s prepared to stand up and defend it.”

Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy claimed Mr Shatter took sides in the penalty points crisis and “threw the Garda Ombudsman to the wolves”. “It comes down to political judgment,” she said, “and there have been a number of instances where his political judgment has been called into question and I think that has meant this has become a crisis.”

Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath said Mr Shatter should leave office because of the “extreme damage” he has caused to public confidence in the gardaí.

Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath said the justice system had been severely damaged “and I think Shatter should go”.

Other TDs calling for Mr Shatter to resign were Thomas Pringle, John Halligan and United Left TD Joan Collins.

Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton said the manner in which her former Government colleague announced the sacking of Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly in the Dáil was “quite frankly disgraceful”, but she said Mr Shatter should be allowed into the Oireachtas to explain himself.

The TDs were speaking at a news conference launching Shane Ross’s Judicial Appointments Bill which aims to eventually pass a referendum to replace the Judicial Advisory Board with an independently appointed council.

Its supporters said it would mean community and voluntary groups would help appoint judges, and would ensure the judiciary would be completely independent of government.

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