Govt Have 'Major' Questions To Answer, Says Sinn Féin Leader

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams has reiterated his party's cal for the resignation of Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, and said that the government has a number of "major" questions to answer over the Garda phone bugging scandal.

"This Government may feel it has got ‘off the hook’ in relation to the various scandals involving the Minister for Justice following his very belated apology to the Garda whistle blowers," Mr Adams said.

Adding: "But it is far from ‘off the hook’ because the latest revelations open up a series of major questions that this government, particularly Minister Shatter, urgently need to provide answers to.

The question Mr Adams says the government must answer include:

• In the Dáil on May 23rd, 2001, as an opposition TD Alan Shatter asked then Minister for Justice, John O' Donoghue about allegations that Gardaí in Donegal were bugging conversations between solicitors and clients. Did Minister Shatter establish with the Garda Commissioner, upon taking office, if this practice was true and if it had ceased?

• Why did the Attorney General go straight to the Taoiseach with the revelations about recordings of phones in Garda Stations without first briefing Minister Shatter?

• Does Minister Shatter think it was right the Attorney General withheld this information from him despite presumably being aware of the seriousness of the issue?

• Has Minister Shatter spoken with the Attorney General since Monday on the revelations that were brought to Cabinet on Tuesday and can he provide information on the possible impact the practice of recording phone calls in Garda Stations will have on past and pending court cases?

• Why did the Attorney General not inform the Department of Justice and Minister Shatter that a working group was being established by the Commissioner to investigate recordings?

• Was any representative from the Department of Justice appointed to the working group and if not will the Minister explain why this is the case?

• Did the Attorney General, when made aware of the issue, not seek immediate clarification on the legality of the tapes being made, their content and the possible impact on due process?

Mr Adams added: "Sinn Féin wants to see real and far-reaching reform of the Gardai, similar to the changes that we helped bring to policing in the North

"Citizens deserve a modern 21st century, accountable policing service. The work of building such a service cannot happen with the current Justice Minister at the helm. He should now step aside."


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