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"The sight of the deputy in full flight standing on a moral soapbox just makes it a little bit difficult not to totally throw up."
Penalty Points

Shatter: 'Difficult not to throw up' listening to Ming on Gardaí

The justice minister did little to hide his annoyance in the Dáil today when asked about the penalty points inquiry.

JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has told the Dáil it finds it “a little bit difficult not to totally throw up” while listening to independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan complain about alleged Garda corruption.

Shatter made the comments after Flanagan insisted that last year’s revelations about penalty points being wiped from the driving licences of well-known public figures suggested a degree of corruption within the Garda.

Flanagan told the Dáil that his investigations into the issue had convinced him that the penalty points issue appeared “to be only the tip of the iceberg” and that complaints of alleged Garda corruption had not been made before now simply because people were scared to blow the whistle.

“As a member of the public and as a parent I would like to believe that if a murder is committed in this country it will be properly investigated,” Flanagan said, before quoting comments from Fine Gael back-bencher Michael Creed, who last month said Gardaí had participated in “omerta-style collusion” in covering up the murder of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985.

Flanagan said the revelations about penalty points showed “quite clearly that in this country some people are more important than others”.

Shatter was not pleased to hear Flanagan’s comments.

I’m afraid the sight of the deputy in full flight standing on a moral soapbox just makes it a little bit difficult not to totally throw up. [...]

This from a member of this house, who encourages people outside of this house to engage in illegalities. This from a member of this house who believes it’s appropriate that 70 to 75 per cent of people pay their property tax, but is happy to encourage others not to do so.

This from a deputy in this house who has encouraged people to violate a law and create difficulties for this state in a European context.

This from a deputy who boasts of his drug-taking! This from a deputy who has been convicted before the courts!

Deputy, if you’re going to morally lecture the rest of us, just be aware that the soapbox you’re resting on is resting on sand – quicksand that is rapidly disappearing under you.

Dispute over whether TDs are ‘prejudging’ inquiry

The ULA’s Clare Daly questioned Shatter’s earlier assertions that members of the technical group were prejudging the Garda Commissioner’s investigation into the penalty points affair, saying the investigation was already fatally flawed by ignoring some of the allegations made.

“We’re not prejudging, we’re basing it on the evidence,” Daly said. “All of the evidence tells us that that inquiry is already discredited.”

Shatter suggested Daly did not want the matter investigated, but instead wanted “to be told there was some sort of conspiracy. You’ve all made your minds up a long time ago”. He added:

Weren’t you holding press conferences outside this house, in Buswell’s, where material that is protected under the Data Protection Act which revealed the identities of individual was [...] breathlessly revealed by all of you?

Referring to the dossier of PULSE records obtained by a Garda and released by the TDs in December, Shatter said no police force in the world could tolerate a situation where a member believed they could access the force’s computer systems.

“I can reiterate and say to deputies: that is one bit of a problem that could impact detrimentally on innocent members of the public. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Shatter said he expected the Garda investigation into the penalty point issue to be concluded within the next three to four weeks.

Read: TDs call for public inquiry over quashed penalty points

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