By Patrick Brogan
Former Minister of Justice and author of smut novels Alan Shatter distanced himself from any wrongdoing in light of the Fennelly Report in an interview with Morning Ireland today. He doesn’t come out the worst in this report, but he is far from vindicated.
Judge Fennelly concluded that the numerous examples of illegal wiretapping were the result of a “cock-up rather conspiracy”. Such claims don’t stand up in the cold light of day. The Gardai, as an organisation, tried to destroy the lives of whistleblowers with bullying and disgusting smear campaigns. Quite clearly they love to conspire. Then there is the matter of the fake breathalyser tests and people being wrongly charged with road traffic crimes they didn’t commit. No, this another example of Gardai conspiring together in pursuit of power.
Alan Shatter came across as a casual observer, a million miles away from the epicentre of this particular shitstorm. He claimed to be out of the loop. Thou canst not say I did it. The former minister also claimed he was “very disappointed in” Maire Whelan, the Attorney General in question, and Taoiseach Enda Kenny for not keeping him in the loop and then lying later under oath. Surely, not-knowing is not an excuse. This is something Gardai love trotting out. Ignorance is not bliss.
He unwittingly showed us he was not capable of performing such an important job. He did raise an important point, though. The performance of our Taoiseach should be scrutinised more. The Fennelly Commission did not accept his version of events. Is this a resigning matter? Well, he lied under oath. This may be one more nail in the coffin. No wonder he hid on the continent yesterday while this was being published.
He claimed the report did show “a substantial managerial dysfunction” within the Gardai. Two points to raise here. Firstly, he was Minister of Justice, should he not have been doing something about it? Secondly, he went on to praise his old mucker, Martin Callinan, the head of that organisation. Callinan was clearly part of the problem. It was touching, the bromance. Shatter said Callinan was the one to pull the plug on the wiretapping. This was only because this came into view after the investigation of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier was so badly botched that the main suspect, Ian Bailey, will now stand trial in France and not Ireland.
These Commissions can be frustrating. Too little comes out of years of research and investigations. One head has rolled. Hopefully, some more will follow off the guillotine.
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