Shatter: My only interest is that we get at the truth

Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan

The Justice Minister has today rejected claims that he is too close to the Garda Commissioner, saying that he only wants to get to the truth.

Alan Shatter's being grilled at an Oireachtas committee in relation to alleged bugging of the Garda Ombudsman.

He has again insisted that there is no evidence of surveillance, but a judge needs to decide between two reports - one saying there was no definitive evidence of bugging, the other saying there was none at all.

Minister Shatter said that he has been the subject of "political attack".

"I'm told that I'm too close to the Garda Commissioner," he said.

"As if the Minister for Justice should be at war with the Garda Commissioner.

"Can I say, chairman, on this issue, my only interest is that we get at the truth, I tell the truth as I know it, based on the information I'm given."

Minister Shatter last night told the Dáil that there was "no evidence at all" of bugging at GSOC's offices.

That claim came only hours after the Government announced an independent inquiry into the surveillance claims.

At the committee this evening, Minister Shatter said: “Could it have been some foreign agency?

“Could it have been based on what we’ve heard was happening in England?

“Could it have been a journalist? Could it have been anybody? I’m not suggesting it was, I’m just saying there was an awful lot of ‘could it have been’s and the only body that GSOC have a statutory right to investigate is An Garda Síochána.”

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