Alan Shatter receives standing ovation

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has received the Garda Inspectorate report into the operation of the penalty points system.

Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, who alleged widespread abuse of the penalty points system by members of the force, was interviewed by the Garda Inspectorate’s chief inspector, Robert Olson, and a report was sent to the minister on Friday.

The embattled minister launched a scathing attack on opposition parties in the wake of their sustained criticism of his handling of the GSOC and Garda whistleblower controversies.

To loud applause and a standing ovation, Mr Shatter told the party faithful at the Fine Gael ard fheis he would not be lectured by Sinn Féin on policing matters.

He criticised Sinn Féin TDs and their “fellow travellers” for “celebrating” the release of the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe who was shot dead by the IRA during a botched Post Office raid in Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996.

Kerry North TD Martin Ferris and others met the killers when they were released from prison in 2009.

He accused Sinn Féin of “feigned concern” over the conclusion of the Smithwick Tribunal into the 1989 IRA murders of RUC constables Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in near the border in South Armagh.

He then turned his sights on Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Niall Collins who he claimed “went awol” and didn’t ask any questions during the recent four-hour long Oireachtas petitions committee hearings into his handling of the alleged bugging of the GSOC offices in Dublin.

Mr Shatter said he wouldn’t take any lectures from Fianna Fáil either who had “so bankrupted the country” that Garda recruitment was ceased for five years. He claimed he had achieved more in the past three years in office than Fianna Fáil-led governments of the past 14 years.

He claimed former justice minister John O’Donoghue tried to bully former Fine Gael justice minister Nora Owen when she was in office. He was the “self- proclaimed zero tolerance zealot who ultimately, his own electorate Kerry constituency lost tolerance with him.”

Mr Shatter announced that in keeping Defence Force numbers at 9,500, some 300 new recruits would be joining between now and the end of the year. He told delegates that the new DNA Data Bill would provide gardaí with a DNA record which would assist them in the investigations into serious crimes.

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