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No, says Alan Shatter: I'm not going to attempt a coup

The dual minister assures that despite commanding both Gardaí and Army, he has “no interest of posing a threat to the State”.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

ALAN SHATTER has taken the unusual step of assuring the Dáil that he has no intention of planning a coup thanks to an unusual overlap in his ministerial roles.

Shatter made the unusual assurance after being asked whether he had been stripped of any of the powers relating to his role as Minister for Defence, simply because he also holds the role of Minister for Justice and Equality.

Fianna Fáíl defence spokesman Seán Ó Fearghaíl, asking about a forthcoming Green Paper on defence. The paper will indicate tentative government plans on how to advance and reform Ireland’s defence policy, and will lead to a broader public consultation on the issue.

“I think I am right in recollecting that there are no powers that the Minister for Defence has, that I am relief of,” Shatter smiled, before continuing:

Can I assure the Deputy that on the assumption that I do stay sane, I have no intention of posing a threat to the State by virtue that I am in the unusual position of being both Minister for Defence and Minister for Justice.

Ó Fearghaíl had questioned whether Shatter may be the only person to hold office in a democracy where he controlled both the police force and the army.

Shatter commented, however, that his dual role meant interesting overlaps in the areas of counter-terrorism and cybercrime.

“I’ve expressed the view at EU level that there should be greater connectivity in dealing with some of these issues where there are clearly an overlap,” he said.

Shatter sits on both the councils of European defence and justice ministers – currently chairing both of them during Ireland’s presidency of the Council of the EU.

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Gavan Reilly

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