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Shatter: 'I was breathalysed, but hadn't done anything wrong'

Alan Shatter has offered an explanation of the incident referred to by Mattie McGrath in the Dáil earlier today.

Alan Shatter says he was breathalysed, but could not complete the test because he is asthmatic.
Alan Shatter says he was breathalysed, but could not complete the test because he is asthmatic.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has sought to clarify the nature of an incident where he was breathalysed by Gardaí.

Shatter says the incident – brought to light by Mattie McGrath in the Dáil this morning – actually happened “in 2009, or possibly late 2008″ at Pembroke Street in Dublin.

McGrath raised the issue during this morning’s Leaders’ Questions, asking if either the Taoiseach or Tánaiste were aware of an incident where Shatter was stopped and breathalysed by Gardaí.

The Tipperary South TD had claimed that the incident took place sometime between the 2011 general election, on February 25 of that year, and Shatter’s appointment as a minister on March 9.

“No such event occurred at the time stated by the Deputy,” Shatter said in a statement this evening, saying he did recall a separate incident at a mandatory checkpoint.

“There was a queue of motorists and when I was reached, like those before me, my Road Tax and Insurance discs were checked and I was asked to exhale into a breathalyser,” he said.

“I did so, but failed to fully complete the task due to my being asthmatic. I explained this to the Garda.

I also explained that I was on my way home from Dáil Éireann and that I had consumed no alcohol of any nature that day. The Garda consulted with another and I was waved on.

There was no question of my having consumed any alcohol, nor of my having committed any offence under the Road Traffic Acts.

The minister said he had not heard any further mention of the incident until it was mentioned in the Dáil today.

Shatter also clarified the nature of an incident he had mentioned during Tuesday night’s discussion of his disclosure of the incident where Mick Wallace had been warned by Gardaí for using a mobile phone while driving.

He said that incident was on Ormond Quay along Dublin’s north quays at 11:30am one morning “some years ago”.

“A Garda on a motorbike stopped by my car and directed me to roll down my window and informed me I should not be in a bus lane,” he said.

I explained that the signage detailed that all vehicles could travel in it between 10am and 12 noon.  No more was said and he moved on.

Read: Greater protections for whistleblowers after penalty points furore

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Gavan Reilly

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