Shatter gets away with it, but at what price?

Martyn Turner sometimes has a way of grabbing hold of what’s really going on in Irish politics and turning it inside out… As does Miriam Lord

Shatter stood his ground. No idea how the commissioner came by the information. He never looked for it, in the same way he never seeks information on any member of the House.

Wallace and his sidekick, Clare Daly, were furious with him. But they got no answers. And in the end, Shatter, who is a street fighter, ended the bout with a haymaker of a story about Ming Flanagan writing to him to explain his travails with the traffic corps.

The Minister, putting on a plaintive little voice, read out the letter. It was a hilarious performance, but a vicious closing attack. In the letter, Flanagan names (and blames, as Shatter helpfully pointed out) the people who had done him a turn by helping him lose his penalty points.

“I do not hold any malice against Mr ‘Blank’ for this,” said Shatter, as the place erupted. The trio of Wallace, Daly and Flanagan shot sulphurous looks across at the floor at Shatter, who knew he was through the gap and clear.

Along with James Reilly and Phil Hogan, Alan Shatter is one of three unlucky Fine Gael Ministers. But the truth is that they are none of them used to wielding executive power but have already acquired the habit of treating the Oireachtas with contempt.

Nothing can be done about their experience (or incompetence depending on where you are viewing them from), but its surely time the balance was shifted in favour of parliament?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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