The office of the Minister for Justice and Equality is probably the most sensitive office in Government. This sensitivity arises from the roles and relationships that he or she must have with some of the most important institutions of State. The Minister for Justice and Equality has responsibility for An Garda Síochána and to provide for the Judiciary, and receives confidential and private information, often pertaining to the security of the State.
On 15 May last the Minister, Deputy Shatter, received a report from the Garda Commissioner on the penalty points investigation and report. That concluded that there was no evidence found to suggest any criminality in the cancellation of fixed charge notices. The Minister then appeared on RTE's "Prime Time" on 16 May and even though he was armed with the facts of the report, he decided to divulge private information about Deputy Wallace that was given to him by the Garda Commissioner. He clearly crossed the line. He showed contempt for the democratic norms for his personal political gain. Everyone but Fine Gael believes that this was inappropriate use of private information. When the Taoiseach replies, I want him to outline his response to the inappropriate use by the Minister, Deputy Shatter, of this private information.
On Thursday last, 23 May, after questions were raised in this House, the Minister was forced to make a statement about when he was stopped on Pembroke Street at a routine checkpoint. He stated that he was unable to fully blow the breathalyzer due to asthma and that he was also returning from Dáil Éireann. Amazingly, when speaking on this matter over the weekend, the Taoiseach stated that the Minister stated that he twice failed to fill the breathalyzer and he expressed confidence in him.
These are the questions I have for the Taoiseach. Has he since spoke to the Minister? Given today's report in the Irish Independent of which I am sure he is aware and given the Minister, Deputy Shatter's, statement this morning released at 6.31 a.m., is the Taoiseach concerned that a report on Deputy Wallace could find its way up the Garda chain of command to the Minister and into a television studio and be broadcast nationally, yet, apparently the incident in Pembroke Street was not reported at all?