Fianna Fáil to table no-confidence motion in Shatter

Friday 28 March 2014 21.10
Micheál Martin said the public has lost confidence in Alan Shatter's capacity to run his department
Micheál Martin said the public has lost confidence in Alan Shatter's capacity to run his department

Fianna Fáil is to table a no-confidence motion in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter next week.

The announcement comes at the end of a week of political drama that saw Martin Callinan retire as garda commissioner after it emerged that calls to and from garda stations had been recorded, and Mr Shatter apologise to two garda whistleblowers.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the public has lost confidence in the minister's capacity to run his department.

He said the Department of Justice faces many challenges and needs a fresh start.

He said the no-confidence motion on Tuesday and Wednesday would provide time for debate and give Government parties a chance to reflect on the issues.

Mr Martin said many questions remain unanswered about the visit of the Secretary General of the Department of Justice to Martin Callinan the night before the former garda commissioner resigned.

Earlier, Mr Martin accused Mr Shatter of going "into hiding" and limiting himself to a couple of carefully scripted speeches.

Mr Martin used the start of his opening speech on a debate on his party's Seanad Reform Bill 2014 to attack Mr Shatter.

He said: "The Commissioner of An Garda Siochána was pushed aside following series of deeply suspicious events.

"Each element of this story has emerged drip by drip and there is not a person anywhere who believes that everything is now out in public.

"Even the Government's most craven supporters now concede that we are facing a profound crisis which touches on one of our most important institutions.

"In the face of this we have for months seen a strategy of attacking opponents, false claims left on the record, a reluctance to investigate serious allegations and an absolute refusal to accept even the most basic principles of democratic accountability."

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice rejected Mr Martin's claims in the Dáil this morning.

The spokesperson said the minister had addressed the issues of the garda recordings and penalty points for seven hours in the Dáil on Wednesday.

She said this could not constitute going into hiding.

Seanad Reform Bill debated

The Seanad Reform Bill 2014 proposes fundamental changes to the way in which senators are elected, as well the composition of the house through legislative change.

It does not propose any change to the Constitution.

It proposes retaining the three main groupings of senators: the Taoiseach's 11 nominees, the six university senators and the 43 senators elected under five vocational panels.

But every citizen would be entitled to vote in Seanad elections, as the method of election and composition of each panel would change.

Mr Martin said that nobody believes the Government when it says that it has reformed the Dáil.