The Taoiseach announced the resignation of the Minister, Deputy Shatter, yesterday at 4.30 p.m. in the House. The Guerin report will be published tomorrow and should be debated in the House in considerable detail. It is very unfortunate that the Minister for Justice and Equality resigned when the Members of this House had not yet seen the report. It is surprising also that the Tánaiste, even at lunchtime yesterday, defended Deputy Shatter as Minister and confirmed that he had confidence in him. That is against the background of the receipt of the Guerin report by the Taoiseach's office on the previous evening. Apparently the Taoiseach was launching the campaign of the by-election candidate in Dublin West while his staff were digesting the 300-page report. There are reports today that the Taoiseach was in contact with the Attorney General at 6 a.m. yesterday. The then Minister, Deputy Shatter, was contacted and shown the report.
Despite his actions, the Tánaiste and other Labour Party Ministers have repeatedly defended the former Minister, Deputy Shatter, for the past 18 months, even when his behaviour was highly questionable. I refer to his attitude to the Smithwick inquiry, his attitude to whistleblowers and so on. All of that has made it difficult for us to comprehend the reason the Labour Party in particular was so steadfast in its support for the then Minister, Deputy Shatter, given his approach to many controversial issues, from the bugging of the offices of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, to the whistleblowing incident, and so forth.
Can the Minister explain to me when the Tánaiste was first told about the resignation of the former Minister, Deputy Shatter? When did he receive the Guerin report or when was he informed that the Guerin report had been received? Does he now find it somewhat unacceptable that he was expressing full confidence in the Minister at 2 o'clock yesterday without having any idea that by that stage the Minister was resigning and the Taoiseach had engaged with him on the issue?