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'His situation is untenable': Eight TDs say Alan Shatter should go

The call was made at a press conference in Dublin today.

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Independent TDs outside Buswells Hotel where a bill to remove political influence form judicial appointments was launched today. Pic: Hugh O’Connell/TheJournal.ie

EIGHT TDS HAVE called for the Justice Minister Alan Shatter to resign in the wake of the controversy over alleged surveillance at the Garda Ombudsman and the handling of a garda whistleblower.

Speaking at a press conference to launch a bill that would allow judges to be independently appointed, Dublin South TD Shane Ross said: “I think at this stage his situation is untenable as a result of a series of difficulties into which he’s got himself.”

He was supported in his call by fellow independent TDs and Dáil Technical Group members Thomas Pringle, Mattie McGrath, Finian McGrath, Catherine Murphy, Roisin Shortall, and John Halligan as well as United Left TD Joan Collins, all of whom were at the press conference.

Murphy said: “It comes down the political judgement and there have been a number of instances where his political judgement has been called into question and I think that has meant this has become a crisis.”

Both Finian McGrath and Mattie McGrath said that confidence in Shatter and the administration of justice in this country have been damaged by events in recent days.

However both Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton and independent deputy Maureen O’Sullivan, who were also present at the event, stopped short of saying Shatter should go.

Creighton said that her former Fine Gael colleague should be allowed come to the Dáil to explain himself, describing the sacking of the garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly yesterday as “quite frankly disgraceful”.

“I want to hear from the Minister,” she said.

Independent senator Feargal Quinn said that Shatter has not reported to both houses of the Oireachtas and wants him to come before the Seanad on the matter.

The bill being launched today, the Judicial Appointments Bill, would require a referendum that if passed would see the Judicial Advisory Board (JAB) abolished and replaced with an independently-appointed Judicial Appointments Council.

Ross said that the members of this would be “drawn from a broad spectrum of society” and could be from community groups and voluntary groups.

They would require Oireachtas approval and would then be responsible for the appointment of judges, in effect removing all political influence from judicial appointments.

“It is absolutely sacrosanct that judges and the gardaí should be totally and utterly independent of government,” Ross said, adding that another forthcoming bill would remove political influence from the appointment of senior gardaí.

Read: Gardaí who suspect wrongdoing in force should approach TDs — whistleblower

Read: Here’s what Enda Kenny and 6 ministers said about security sweeps at their offices

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