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Garda Commissioner must confirm or contest Shatter’s claim

28 May, 2013 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn


Responding to reports that the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has stated that there is no Garda record of the checkpoint incident involving the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on Commissioner Callinan to confirm that there is a garda report as required by law, on the checkpoint at which Justice Minister Alan Shatter was stopped and breathalysed.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said that the record of this checkpoint is now key to clarifying the truth of this incident in the public interest.

The Donegal North East Deputy said:

“I find it remarkable that the Garda Commissioner was able to advise the minister about the incident involving Deputy Mick Wallace without any apparent formal Garda record yet on the other hand he can state that there is no garda report into this incident at an authorised garda checkpoint in which the then front bench Fine Gael TD, failed to complete a mandatory breathalyser test. This is just not acceptable.

“Checkpoints with mandatory breathalysers must be authorised by a garda of at least inspector rank. Therefore whatever about the actual incident, there must be a garda record of that checkpoint.

“This garda checkpoint record will outline how many motorists were breathalysed and the outcome. The Garda Commissioner must examine this record and talk to the officers who manned the checkpoint to establish the veracity of the public statement made by the Minister with his account of what happened.

“There are so many questions that need to be answered. Did the Minister refer to being asthmatic as an explanation for not completing the mandatory breathalyser test? Did the Minister invoke constitutional protection because he was travelling from the Dáil? What is the reason why the Minister was allowed to drive off without being taken to the nearest police station to carry out a blood test or urine test?

“Concerns have grown in recent weeks about an unhealthy quid pro quo relationship between the minister and the Garda Commissioner. The Garda Commissioner must act to restore public confidence, speak to the gardaí who manned the checkpoint in question and publicly confirm or contest Minister Shatter's account.”

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