Shatter may have been mistaken in Dáil remarks

Justice Minister Alan Shatter “may have been mistaken” when he told the Dáil a garda whistleblower did not co-operate with an internal inquiry into penalty point cancellations, according to his Labour cabinet colleague, Pat Rabbitte.

The communications minister said that, if this was the case, then Mr Shatter should correct the record “when the opportunity arises”.

But he insisted the justice minister was “not a minister who would mislead the Dáil” and was a “long-time parliamentarian and very scrupulous politician”.

For the third day running Mr Shatter’s spokesperson has refused to say whether or not he intends to correct the record or apologise to whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Independent TD Clare Daly said Mr McCabe has been “vindicated” but “is still not in a position to do his job properly and he hasn’t been apologised to and is still in a very vulnerable situation”.

Mr Shatter has been urged to make a comprehensive statement on the treatment of the whistlebower, Maurice McCabe, and to apologise for what Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, “wronging him through the allegation of non-cooperation.”

It relates to a statement made by Mr Shatter last October following the publication of the internal penalty point inquiry by Assistant Commissioner, John O’Mahony.

The justice minister told the Dáil the garda whistleblowers, including Mr McCabe and now-retired garda, John Wilson, “did not co-operate with the Garda investigation that took place. Now I do not know why that is...”

But correspondence from Mr McCabe to the Minister shows he expressed frustration that he was not interviewed as part of the inquiry.

Speaking on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke yesterday, Mr Rabbitte said: “It would appear that Maurice McCabe was available and so on, but wasn’t actually examined on the issue.”

But he said he could not say if Mr Shatter was aware of that or not.

“Quite clearly, if he said that in the Dáil he was under that impression. If that wasn’t his genuine understanding of the situation at the time, it’s simply unthinkable that he would have said otherwise. There may have been a simple mistake here and if it is it should be corrected.”

But his calls for a correction were not backed up by any other cabinet members.

Asked if Mr McCabe deserved an apology for his actions being described as “disgusting” by the Garda Commissioner, the Labour leader Eamon Gilmore responded: “I think we need to look now at the information provided, we will do that. I will be discussing it with the Taoiseach and we will take it forward.”


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