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Shatter says 'seed of doubt' was planted in voters' minds over referendum

The justice minister has said that media attention was totally focused on the presidential election, rather than on the complex Oireachtas inquiries referendum. (Also, does he say ‘referendums’ or ‘referenda’?).

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE JUSTICE MINISTER Alan Shatter has said that he believes the vote on the contentious Oireachtas inquiries referendum will be very tight.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One this morning he said that while he wasn’t aware of any detailed tallies, he was aware of one that had been done in Wexford which indicated that the vote would come down the the wire.

Counting of votes for both the Oireachtas inquiries referedum, and the ballot on judges’ pay is expected to get underway later today, once the final results of the presidential election is known.

Shatter has said that the resistance to the inquiries issue is not because voters are against it, but because it’s a complex issue which was largely ignored due to the coverage of the presidential election.

He said that the issue of judicial pay had a “far longer lead in” in terms of discussion, with debate starting back in July. Shatter said that “when it came to Oireachtas inquiries, the issue was more complex, and unfortunately a lot of the attention was taken by the presidential election”.

The minister said that a “seed of doubt” which was planted in peoples’ heads has led them to vote no.

Responding to questions about his dismissal of the criticism of eight former AGs of the referendums, Shatter said that there had been “very little reasoning” behind their statement.

The viewpoint of the AGs was also rejected by the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who said that the idea that judicial independence would be endangered was “nonsense”.

The Attorneys General said that they were “strongly opposed” to the measures to reduce judges’ pay and enable Oireachtas inquiries.

A “stunning victory” for Michael D

The justice minister congratulated president elect Michael D Higgins, saying it was a “stunning victory” for the Labour man who he said had an “individualised approach to the world”.

Shatter said that the campaign of his government partner Gay Mitchell may have failed because he just didn’t “gel with the electorate”. He said Mitchell was a “very serious politician” who had devoted his entire life to public service.

Referendum/referenda?

And in case your’re wondering where the justice minister stands on the referendums/referenda issue, he seemed a little unsure but presenter Marian Finucane and RTÉ correspondent Fergal Keane convinced him that ‘referendums’ is the word of the moment.

When TheJournal.ie looked into it, we discovered that it was really just a matter of preference.

Gilmore defends referendums after AGs urge ‘No’ vote>

Following the count today? Join the chat on TheJournal.ie’s liveblog>

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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