Fears for hundreds of criminal convictions after illegal taping claims

The Irish Examiner's Mick Clifford.

There are fears the revelations of secret recording of phone calls in Garda stations could throw hundreds of criminal convictions into question.

The Government says that threat was behind its decision to establish a commission of inquiry into the practice, which has seen more than 2,500 tapes come to light.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter will face intense scrutiny when he takes to his feet in the Dáil this morning.

He is due to discuss the fallout from the the Garda Inspectorate report into the penalty points scandal, as well as the phone call revelations which date back as far as the 1980s.

The Irish Examiner's Mick Clifford says this latest controversy could throw hundreds of convictions into doubt.

Meanwhile, Frank McBrearty Junior says the Justice Minister has to go, saying Alan Shatter has handled this issue "dreadfully".

The Independent Donegal Councillor who came to national attention when the Morris Tribunal report found that Gardaí had tried to frame him for murder.

He says none of that report's recommendations have been implemented, and is demanding a full, independent judicial inquiry into policing in Ireland be set up.

In the Dáil at 10.45am this morning the Justice Minister will make a statement on the secret taping of phone calls in Garda stations, and who knew what and when.

Central here will be why a letter to him two weeks ago from former Commissioner Martin Callinan only made its way into his hand yesterday morning.

Then in the afternoon there will be five hours of debate on the Garda Inspectorate Report into penalty points.

There will be pressure on Alan Shatter to withdraw the comments that the whistleblowers had not co-operated.

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