News Blog

No-confidence vote and no breathalyser report for Shatter as the property tax deadline arrives . . .

Mary Minihan Tue, May 28
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 09:37
    Good morning. Mary Minihan here manning the live blog today. Coming up we will be looking at the big stories of the morning, including: the latest on property tax returns as the deadline looms and the countdown to the motion of no confidence facing Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
  • 09:46
    Well the Minister for Justice was up early this morning. At 6.30am he put out a statement saying: “Following on from the issue raised in the Dáil last week by Deputy Mattie McGrath, the Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality asked the Garda Commissioner to ascertain whether there was a garda report on the matter.

    “The Commissioner has confirmed that he caused enquiries to be made by local Garda management as to whether or not a report of the incident was made at the time. He is informed that no such report was generated by the Garda member involved and a further local search of the garda computer system has failed to locate any such report.”
  • 09:53
    The latest on property tax returns is that the Revenue Commissioners have said within the last hour that 1.35m returns have been received as of last night.
  • 09:56

  • 10:04
    Our lead story this morning is by my colleague Arthur Beesley with the headline '€1bn fund to boost building sector being considered'. Basically, the Government is looking at a stimulus plan amid projections it may overshoot deficit target.  
  • 10:14
    Meanwhile, our political editor Stephen Collins has an analysis piece on yesterday's lead story (wot I wrote) about Finance Minister Michael Noonan bringing a proposal to Cabinet shortly to develop a stringent new economic plan to replace the troika bailout programme.

    Our lead editorial also looks at that story...
  • 10:21
    The latest news from the Revenue Commissioners has been stitched into this story on property tax. The helpline will stay open until midnight tonight.
  • 10:23
    With 'Shattergate' rumbling on, Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said "questions remain unanswered" during an interview with Pat Kenny on RTE Radio One this morning. The no confidence motion, put down by Fianna Fail, kicks off at 7.30pm. Fianna Fail deputies will have 40 minutes before the debate returns to the Goverment side for 30 minutes.
  • 10:48
    Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman Niall Collins has had no hesitation about getting the boot into Justice Minister Alan Shatter since the 'Shattergate' saga began. He's let it be known he'll be available for a media opportunity this morning ahead of his party's motion of no confidence this evening. We'll bring you what he has to say. 

  • 11:15
    In some happy international news, a baby boy has been rescued from sewage pipe in China.
  • 11:15
    On the domestic front, I'm heading upstairs to attend the weekly politics conference...back in a bit
  • 11:49
  • 11:49
  • 11:49
    John Would be interested in knowing what exactly a 'media opportunity' entails!
  • 11:49
    Tom Revenue have a twitter? Its one I won't be following
  • 11:58
    In other property related news, the number of residential transactions rose by 14.4 per cent in the first three months of the year, according to the Irish Banking Federation’s latest Housing Market Monitor. You can comment on that story here
  • 11:59
    And in business news, the California-based investment group Kennedy Wilson is close to securing a portfolio of 16 commercial properties in Ireland formerly connected with developer Treasury Holdings for €306 million in cash. Ciaran Hancock reports here
  • 12:08
    If you'd like to follow the Revenue Commissioners on Twitter they're at
    (be nice!)
  • 12:28
    Independent TD Michael Lowry has waded into 'Shattergate'. “I do not consider Alan Shatter a political friend. He was never the most popular member of the house. He can be irritatingly dismissive and brash,” Mr Lowry says. Ouch.

  • 12:29
    But wait. Mr Lowry is questioning whether a Dáil debate on a motion of no confidence in Alan Shatter is an appropriate use of Dáil time. He intends to vote against the motion of no confidence on the grounds that while a mistake was made the integrity of the Minister is not in question and therefore "it is not a sacking offence".
  • 12:31
    Mr Lowry continues: “As a political practitioner, I can understand that after 30 years in the Dáil Minister Shatter is entitled to grasp his first appointment as Minister with unbridled enthusiasm." (Slightly miaow!)
    "I have to [be] fair and acknowledge that he has always stood out with the quality of his intellect, his ability to be innovative and the impressive manner in which he advocates and articulates his view point.
    "One thing I do respect is his determination to reform and modernise an outmoded legal and judicial system."

    There's a sting in the tail, however: "However I will continue to vehemently disagree with and criticise his attitude and approach to Garda resources and policing policy.”
  • 12:36
    In conclusion, Mr Lowry says the public is sick and tired of this ongoing "farce and the media circus surrounding this issue". He describes the prolonged debate as a "furore about trivialities".

    Mr Lowry says he gets worried when he sees fellow Independent TDs Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Mick Wallace "claiming victory on the high moral ground".

    It is not the time to waste Dáil hours on a motion of no confidence, he says. [Note the motion was put down by Fianna Fáil] "With serious issues such as unemployment, emigration, farmers in crisis and families struggling to keep their heads above water this is not an issue of such gravity that deserves this priority."

    So there.
  • 12:38
    And as promised here's what Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins had to say about Mr Shatter and his allies in Government.
    "Ministers who have come out in support of Alan Shatter in recent days have deliberately ignored the point of this motion of No Confidence in him. Alan Shatter abused his position as Minister for Justice in an effort to undermine a political opponent.
    "He used private information conveyed to him in confidence for his own and his party's political benefit. While Fianna Fáil has consistently highlighted the problems arising from Alan Shatter's approach, his decision to abuse the trust of the Garda Commissioner was a clear tipping point."

    “Minister Shatter has made bad policy decisions. He has lost the confidence of rank and file gardaí, he has been accused of undermining the independence of the Judiciary and he used private information for political purposes. Throughout his tenure he has consistently demonstrated a worrying lack of judgement.

    “The government has already signalled, before the debate has even begun in the Dáil, that they have no intention of allowing Minister Shatter to be held accountable. Government backbenchers who had briefed the media about their unhappiness with Shatter's comments when they thought it would get them some publicity, have now gone to ground. I would appeal to all those Government TDs who still believe in the principle of ministerial accountability, despite the Government's massive majority, to show some character and support the Fianna Fáil motion of No Confidence this week."

  • 12:45
    British publicist Max Clifford today denied 11 counts of historic indecent assault on teenage girls. The 70-year-old, from Hersham in Surrey, is accused of charges relating to seven alleged victims, aged from 14 to 19, between 1966 and 1985.

    He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today and entered not guilty pleas to all the counts. More here
  • 12:52

    Leo Varadkar, Minister for Tourism, says the Gathering "is clearly picking up pace". I wonder what Ted thinks...

  • 12:52
  • 13:00
    Health Minister James Reilly says he's received Cabinet approval today to begin the process of introducing plain packaging of tobacco products in Ireland.
  • 13:02
  • 13:10
  • 13:12

    Health Minister James Reilly not making any allowances for it being lunchtime during his radio interview with Sean O'Rourke: "cigarettes rot the brain"

  • 13:14
    "The Taoiseach is 100% behind me on this." Health Minister James Reilly says. Kicks to touch on Sean O'Rourke's question about this Irish Times story
  • 13:15
    Referring to 'Shattergate', Dr Reilly tells Sean O'Rourke "there's no steam left in this".
  • 13:20
  • 13:22
  • 13:27
  • 13:30
    Maybe you still have questions on the property tax? Our reporter Pamela Duncan has all the answers here
  • 13:33
    In sports news, Gerry Thornley reports that tetirements and departures have left huge voids at Leinster, Munster and Connacht: A tumultuous end to a tumultuous season
  • 13:34
  • 13:35
  • 13:37
    Quick property tax update: Revenue Commissioners say there have been 1.4 million property tax returns with less than 12 hours to go until deadline. At midday, 10,000 phone calls had been received.
  • 13:44
    Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will part company with the club following talks with club chairman Dave Whelan, increasing speculation he may become the new Everton boss. That's according to Sky Sports
  • 14:14
    Cocaine - the Irish are amongst the heaviest users in Europe, don't you know. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) says cocaine use is “relatively high” in Ireland, particularly among younger people. Read all about it here
  • 14:16
    Sex addiction - one man's inability to face up to his problem ultimately cost him his family...
  • 14:25
    Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan follows Independent TD Michael Lowry in saying tonight's motion of confidence in Alan Shatter is a waste of Dáil time....“People should see today’s motion of no confidence for what it is; another episode in a politically orchestrated campaign to try and undermine the Government at any cost," he says.
    “Micheál Martin and his party should allow Parliament to get on with the job of cleaning up the mess it left the country in. Instead it is blocking up Dáil and Seanad time with what is basically an opportunity for the party to create headlines. Fianna Fáil should allow our parliament to carry out its work – not use it for cheap PR stunts."
  • 14:29
    Looks like the Toffees may have a new manager
  • 15:01

    North American visitors on rise but British tourists still in decline. Why? Our reporter Dan Griffin has the stats

  • 15:08
    Creche scandal: RTÉ has confirmed that Prime Time will tonight broadcast the RTÉ Investigative Unit report, A Breach of Trust.

  • 15:10
    Creche scandal: The documentary exploring issues relating to standards in childcare in Ireland will be broadcast tonight on RTÉ One at 21.35.

    The reporter is Oonagh Smyth. RTÉ says: "The programme raises concerns about overall standards of childcare in Ireland, based on evidence gathered from HSE Inspection reports, internal HSE documentation and undercover filming in three crèches.

    "The programme demonstrates that standards of childcare in three crèches (the Links crèche in Abington, Giraffe crèche in Belarmine, Stepaside, and Little Harvard in Rathnew, Co. Wicklow) were in breach of HSE regulations and childcare guidelines.

    "The programme finds various degrees of mistreatment of young children in specific rooms of the crèches, involving inadequate care and serious breaches of child care regulations."
  • 15:18
    Leaders' Questions is getting underway in Leinster House now. Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins is on his feet. Can you guess what topic he's chosen to speak about?
  • 15:20
    Niall Collins says Justice Minister Alan Shatter "crossed the line" by disclosing information about Independent TD Mick Wallace. He claims Fine Gael is the only party that doesn't have a problem with it.

    Now he's talking about Mr Shatter's asthma...and Taoiseach Enda Kenny is on his feet to respond...
  • 15:21
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he has absolute confidence in the Minister to do his job. Says Mr Shatter has apologised for his comment [about Mr Wallace] and provided clarity about his own incident in Pembroke Street.
  • 15:25
    Niall Collins asks if the Garda Commissioner can feel secure about briefing the Minister about confidential matters. "I think clearly not".

    Taoiseach confirms he's spoken to Alan Shatter about the Pembroke Street incident.
  • 15:26
    You can watch Leaders' Questions live here
  • 15:28

    Taoiseach is basically singing Alan Shatter's praises...going through a long list of his achievements...

  • 15:28
    "He wouldn't even say hello to anyone!" - Michael Healy-Rae brings the House down with his cheeky remark about Alan Shatter.
  • 15:30
    Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams on his feet now and talking about the same issue: Alan Shatter. Asks Taoiseach if he has sought and got information from the Minister. Asks if a report on the Pembroke Street incident has gone missing.
  • 15:31
    Taoiseach Enda Kenny says Alan Shatter has been very clear. Says people are breathylsed whether they are pioneers are not (?!)
  • 15:33
    Taoiseach insists no report exists or was ever generated.
  • 15:34
    Gerry Adams asks: "why?" Points out there was a report in Mick Wallace's case. "There has to be a report on what occured on that checkpoint. If there is not...then why isn't there?"
  • 15:35
    Adams asks could the Garda Commissioner not seek a report from the Garda involved. Taoiseach says Mr Wallace's use of his mobile phone was "offence under the law" while Mr Shatter had committed no offence.
  • 15:37
    Taoiseach stresses there were differences between the two incidents. Says the fact that there was no report on the Pembroke Street incident was a matter for the Garda involved.
  • 15:39
    Independent TD Mattie McGrath is on his feet for the technical group. Surprisingly not going with 'Shattergate', says he will wait for the Minister tonight. Instead he cryptically says: "I don't think there's any cow that passes any crossroads that wouldn't be milked by Minister Rabbitte."
  • 15:41
    Anyway, Mattie McGrath's topic is abortion. Criticises the chairman of the Oireachtas health committee Jerry Buttimer of Fine Gael. Says Buttimer has laid out some very specific incidents that will be in the Bill regardless. Referring to the hearings, he says: "Ultimately it was wasted breath because the outcome was pre-determined."
  • 15:42
    Taoiseach says Jerry Buttimer won't be preparing the Bill. Legislation that is currently being prepared will cover existing Constitutional rights only and not create any new rights. "The equal right to life of the unborn will be upheld."
  • 15:43
    Michael Dunne This island is 300 miles long 200 miles wide at longest & widest points and Fianna Failures who bust the country are 'worried' about Alan Shatter breath test over5 years ago . Are they nut or have the lunatics taken over the asylum 'F F 'party ?
  • 15:45
    Mattie McGrath asks Taoiseach to admit the Bill is being "pushed through to satisfy a political requirement not a Constitutional one."
  • 15:46
    Taoiseach says there will be "ample" opportunity for TDs to discuss the abortion legislation before it becomes law...and that completes Leaders' Questions.
  • 15:47
  • 15:58
  • 15:59
    Watch this video of the baby boy rescued from sewage pipe in China's pretty amazing,,,
  • 16:07
    Our agriculture correspondent Alison Healy has this report on the several thousand farmers who protested outside Dublin Castle today over planned changes to the way EU farm payments are made.
  • 16:24
    Saruman’s sings: Actor Christopher Lee releases heavy metal album - to coincide with his 91st birthday of course.
  • 16:25
  • 16:53
    Our parliamentary reporter Michael O'Regan has this report on 'Shattergate' from Leader's Questions earlier this afternoon
  • 17:13
  • 17:15
  • 17:17
    AA Roadwatch warning: M7/TIPPERARY/LIMERICK
    Northbound motorists on the M7 Limerick/Dublin Rd are warned that there are reports of a motorist traveling in the wrong direction between J30 Rossbrien and J27 Birdhill. Take extreme care.
  • 17:19
    The Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners Josephine Feehily will meet with the Oireachtas committee on finance and public expenditure tomorrow, after the property tax deadline passes at midnight...
  • 17:32
    As 'Shattergate' rumbles on, Sinn Féin justice spokesman Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Garda Commissioner to confirm that there is a Garda report "as required by law" on the checkpoint at which Justice Minister Alan Shatter was stopped and breathalysed.

    “Concerns have grown in recent weeks about an unhealthy quid pro quo relationship between the minister and the Garda Commissioner. The Garda Commissioner must act to restore public confidence, speak to the gardaí who manned the checkpoint in question and publicly confirm or contest Minister Shatter's account,” Mr Mac Lochlainn says.
  • 17:33
    I'm going to wrap up the live news blog now...thanks for reading.