"Shafted? No": 10 things we learned from Alan Shatter's Late Late Show interview

The TD and former Minister said that resigning wasn’t a pleasant experience.

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FORMER JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter appeared on the Late Late Show tonight for an interview with Ryan Tubridy.

And before he even appeared, there was excitement brewing:

The lawyer, politician and novelist was grilled by Tubridy on his stepping down, the GardaGate controversy, and the whistleblowers – but there were some things he couldn’t discuss, due to the Fennelly commission.

There was nothing hugely revelatory – if you don’t count his relaxed tie-less, open-shirted look – but we did learn these things about the TD:

1. Whether he was shafted by the Taoiseach

“No, I wasn’t shafted by Enda Kenny,” said Shatter, before describing how he was told about the Guerin Report via a text from the Taoiseach. (The report criticised the Department of Justice’s and Shatter’s handling of allegations by the garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.)

He was surprised the report was published, as the issues to be addressed were very complex.

Told the report “could impact on the life of the government”, he believed that if the view was he shouldn’t remain in office, then he would “readily resign”.

After reading parts of the report – skipping straight to the parts about himself – he was surprised with the conclusions about the matters he dealt with as Minister, given that he hadn’t had contact with Guerin.

“No one would agree with what I had to say,” he said on whether he agreed with the findings or not, and so he decided to resign.

There was no antagonism between him and Kenny when he stepped down – but they haven’t seen each other since June.

And the resignation “wasn’t a pleasant experience”.

2. He was worried about other Fine Gael candidates

Shatter was worried about friends running for Fine Gael at this time.

He concluded that if he didn’t resign, there could have been a few days that would have led to “enormous damage to Fine Gael candidates”.

And so he stepped down.

3. He really enjoyed being a Minister

He described it as an “enormous privilege of being Minister of Justice and Minister of Defence”.

It was the “most challenging, most interesting job of my life”.

He was proud of bringing in legislation making it an offence to conceal child abuse, and also legislation on white collar crime, as well as the DNA database, and the citizenship ceremonies.

But he’s not impressed that since his resignation, the provisions dealing with surrogacy have been deleted from the new children’s bill.

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4. He was “never aware of a culture of fear in Fine Gael”

There you go.

5. Was it wise to ask gardaí to investigate gardaí?

“It’s more complex than that,” said Shatter, mentioning the very detailed allegations received from Sergeant Maurice McCabe, a whistleblower.

“You ask for a view, you don’t pre-judge”

6. He did take the penalty points controversy seriously

Despite suggestions to the contrary.

But there were “certain procedures to be followed”.

7. Was he too close to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan?

They both had their duties – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have “discussions”, he said.

8. He couldn’t say much about Brian Purcell’s chat with Callinan

Because of the Fennelly Commission. But he said: “I don’t want to appear evasive”. He did know the Secretary General Purcell was to meet Callinan, and knew about the Commissioner’s retirement “on the morning of his retirement”.

I think Martin Callinan as Garda Commissioner did an extraordinary job in a whole range of areas.

9. Would he accept a call to enter Cabinet?

He’s “not standing by the phone waiting for the call”, but said “yes of course” as it’s an enormous privilege to do the job.

Will he run again?  Only if he believes his involvement in public life would be positive and beneficial.

10. Is he “sore, bitter and pissed off“?

No. And though most of his Government colleagues are a pleasure to work with, “there’s always someone who feels the need to engage in some sort of gossip or label people”.

Read: Alan Shatter will be on the Late Late tomorrow (let’s all cancel our Friday night plans)>

Read: Alan Shatter wants the GSOC Commissioners to be sacked>

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