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Taoiseach backs Shatter in penalty points row with Wallace

The Wexford TD will lodge a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission today over comments made by the justice minister.

Image: RTÉ Player

INDEPENDENT TD MICK Wallace is set to file a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission today accusing the justice minister of misusing information.

Meanwhile, speaking  in Boston, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he gave his full support to Alan Shatter.

The row between the deputy and minister stemmed from an appearance on RTÉ’s Prime Time. The two were guests discussing the Garda inquiry into alleged abuse of the penalty points deletion system, when Shatter alleged that Wallace had himself been cautioned for driving while using a mobile phone, but was the benefit of Garda discretion and avoided penalty points as a result.

Wallace insists he is  unaware of the incident, and said a fixed charge notice was never issued to him.

The Wexford TD said he would be making a complaint alleging that Shatter’s comments were in breach of the legally binding code of conduct for people elected to public office.

‘Pretence for political purposes’

In response, Shatter said he upheld his view and added that Wallace was “making a pretence for political purposes”.

Enda Kenny told RTÉ News that he fully supported his minister for justice 100 per cent:

“I think what the minister is been pointing out here is that people can’t have it both ways. You cannot be saying no discretion and at the same time availing of discretion.”

Two Fine Gael Ministers, Richard Bruton and Brian Hayes also came out in support of the justice minister, while opposition TDs continue to criticise his allegations.

The row is set to rumble on today.

Labour Deputy Kevin Humphreys told Newstalk Breakfast this morning that he wanted to know how the minister acquired the information. He also questioned its relevance to data protection.

Humphreys is calling on Shatter to explain how he received the information, whether it is by coming before the house and explaining the issue, or answering in a parliamentary question. The deputy has put down two Dáil questions on the issue for the minister.

He said he thought it was “poor judgement” on the minister’s part, which needs to be explained. Humphreys added that he feared that the incident could start a precedent.

Read: FG ministers back Shatter in penalty points comments row>

More: Shatter called on to resign over Wallace penalty points row>

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Amy Croffey

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