Responding to Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s statement to the Dail.
“To mishandle one case might be regarded as unfortunate, and to mishandle two may look like carelessness, but after mishandling six or seven serious scenarios it is time for the Minister to go. His attempt to normalise the latest crisis as no big deal has a shamefully familiar ring.
When is the Government going to realise that we have a crisis of policing in this State? His reactionary response was to say that he would establish an independent Garda authority, even though he laughed Deputy Wallace out of court when he introduced legislation to that effect last year. That is not a genuine attempt at reform.
The Minister stated that the reason this information is now being acted on is that serious information was likely to come into the public domain regarding a horrendous miscarriage of justice and the fitting up of two citizens.
That is clearly a serious and, sadly, all-too-familiar allegation. We have had heard many cases involving people who were wrongly treated by some members of An Garda Síochána.
It is also appalling that the recordings were made. It is not possible to address that issue in detail in the context of breaches of privacy, but the central issues arising are the Minister’s brazenness and barefaced denials, and the Government’s serious mistake in continuing to back him. It is not credible that he did not know.
On 21 May 2013 he told this House that the Commissioner had a duty to tell him about Deputy Wallace’s non-event, but now he is saying the Commissioner did not have a duty to tell him about the most recent issue and he does not have a problem with that.
He berated GSOC for not telling him about the bugging. He listed every piece of legislation he could think of.
Today he devoted several minutes of his speech to explaining why GSOC did not have to inform him and why he does not have a problem with that. Either he does not realise how serious this issue is or he is covering up. Either way, his position is not credible.
We are presiding over a dysfunctional police force. It is undermining the confidence of decent gardaí and the citizens. This is why the Garda Commissioner had no alternative to resigning. When is the penny going to drop with the Minister that he must do the same?
These are not isolated incidents; they are indicative of a systemic problem. None of the mechanisms put in place after the Morris tribunal has worked.
We need a root-and-branch review but, unfortunately, we cannot do that while those at the top are contaminating the process. At this stage, the Minister has contaminated the process beyond his sell-by date.”
Independent TD Clare Daly this afternoon in the Dail
Earlier: Shatter’s Statement