Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s handling of the recent GSOC bugging, penalty points and whistleblower controversies, and allegations of widespread corruption within An Garda Siochana, that have arisen throughout this Government’s tenure has been weak, ineffective and indecisive. Decisions are motivated by his own political survival rather than his ministerial responsibilities. As a result of this failure to deal cleanly and openly with the issues at the onset and to face them head-on, we can no longer trust in his ability to fulfil his ministerial role. The initial reaction to each crisis has been defensiveness, delay, denial, and the discrediting of the party making the allegations. Here’s a shortened version of my contribution in the Dáil to Minister Shatter on Wednesday- “I find the Government's proposal to appoint a senior counsel to consider whether an independent inquiry is required a bit difficult to take after all that has happened. After 18 months of the penalty points episode we certainly have no doubts that an independent public inquiry is required to establish the truth - an independent and public inquiry into the penalty points episode, into the allegations of surveillance of GSOC, and into reported malpractice and corruption in the force over a long period. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to assume that justice is not being administered fairly in this country. I am not saying it was not happening before the Minister's time, I am saying it is still happening on his watch. From when the whistleblowers first brought forward their information, the Minister's first instinct was to rubbish them. We brought the information to the Chamber and he rubbished us. He set up a report and he had the Garda Commissioner rubbish that on 7 December 2012. It was a case of minimise, dismiss and rubbish all the way. We eventually got the internal reports and we issued an 18 page document to highlight the inadequacies of a report which was the result of gardaí inspecting gardaí. The Minister rubbished us again. He attacked us personally and he went his usual way of dismissing and minimising anyone who had the audacity to challenge him... …We brought forward a Bill to address many of the issues which have come into the public domain of late. We considered the idea of an independent board with monitoring and supervisory oversight functions. The Minister rubbished it. We looked at the idea of a diffusion of power and the depoliticisation of the police. The Garda Commissioner is answerable to the Dáil, which amounts to nothing because in reality he is only answerable to the Minister, who is one man from one party. Policing in Ireland is over-politicised. We recommended a root and branch review of the force, something that has never happened… …The GSOC Boylan report, and its Annual report last summer were both damning of the lack of co-operation the commission received from the Garda Síochána. GSOC observed that many of the recommendations set out in the Morris report of 2004 had not been implemented and, moreover, that the sorry tale of Garda involvement in the Kieran Boylan affair bore a striking resemblance to the goings on in Donegal that led to the establishment of the Morris tribunal. The Garda Commissioner completely dismissed the seriousness of GSOC's special report when he appeared before the Oireachtas committee. He relied heavily on the excuse of safeguarding State security and combatting terrorism when defending some of the force's unorthodox actions and the clandestine nature of those actions. Security concerns, he stated, might sometimes prevent him from co-operating with the oversight mechanism of GSOC. Where have we heard that before? The Commissioner also defended the Garda practice of demanding to know the relevance of GSOC's requests for information before it will agree to provide that information. There is absolutely no legal reason that GSOC should have to explain why the evidence it is seeking is relevant to any investigation it is undertaking. The new protocol arrangement the Minister introduced last September, which was supposed to improve the exchange of information between the Garda and GSOC, was only soft law and involves no element of compulsion. It is another example of weak application of the law. The Commissioner came in and told us we should have trust and confidence in him and that he will give GSOC information when he sees fit. It gets worse and worse. The Minister would not let GSOC investigate the Roma children affair, deciding instead that it would make more sense to have a weaker review. There will not be any examination of Garda racial profiling under the terms of reference he has given the Ombudsman for Children. The Minister came in here and rubbished the local people who protested at the Corrib gas field. There were more complaints to GSOC about that operation than about any other issue in the history of the State. When we asked the Minister to give GSOC the task of examining what was happening there under section 106 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, he was not interested in the truth. His concern was with covering up, minimising and dismissing. Fine Gael used to pride itself on being the party of law and order. How in God's name can it stand over that? The Minister avoids using strong legislation in order to avoid seeking out the truth and having to reveal it. He would not ask the Commissioner if the latter had engaged in lawful surveillance in case he was told something he had to stand over. He would not put the same questions to G2. He would not even ask whether any effort had been made to check for rogue elements within the force, or G2, who might have engaged in unlawful surveillance. The Minister did not want the answers to these questions. GSOC made strenuous requests for access to the PULSE system last September in the wake of the Boylan report, and its Annual report. The Minister refused to grant it, before finally relenting a few weeks ago under political pressure. He would not allow GSOC to examine the penalty points issue until, again under political pressure, he allowed an investigation under section 102, but not section 106, of the 2005 Act. The Minister's prime motive in all of this is political survival. Sad to say, his prime motives have very little to do with the proper administration of justice. Many things have gone on in this State for a long time that leave much to be desired. They were happening long before the Minister's time, but it is disappointing that there is still no appetite for the truth. Gemma O'Doherty lost her job at the Irish Independent because she had the audacity to challenge the Commissioner. We received an e-mail this morning from a nephew of Fr. Niall Molloy, the priest whose murder has been the subject of extensive research by Ms O'Doherty. He states: “For almost 30 years people have hidden behind a wall of silence, deceit, corruption and cover-up. Time for the light of justice to shine on them and reveal them to the people for what they are. Many, many people have gone to their graves overshadowed by this heartache.” If the Minister stays in power, and the Commissioner remains in place, then this Parliament is a sham. People are right to be cynical about politics. People are right to be cynical about politicians. This place is a joke. We play games in here, and sometimes these games lead to the unfair distribution of justice, or no justice at all. Sometimes they lead to people losing their lives, to murders, to families not getting any justice. What do we see when bad things emerge? We see our police force circling the wagons. We see our politicians circling the wagons, and doing what it takes to cover up what they do not want us to see. They do what it takes to hide the truth. Is there any appetite for doing things any different in this House? Minister, you look up here at us, and you say, how dare those people, with their long hair and raggy jeans, have the audacity to challenge you. Well I’ll tell you something, the people of Wexford that elected me to come in here, didn’t elect me to come in here and approve of your behaviour. They put me in here to challenge it. It’s time for you to go Minister, and bring the Commissioner with you.” Mick.