Statement by Minister Shatter on the morning after “Mission to Prey”

“I share the widespread public concern and disgust at the revelations which the programme contained. While the behaviour took place abroad, we have a solemn duty to do all that is  within our power to ensure that perpetrators of this predatory abuse of  children are bought to justice where ever it takes place. There can be no
hiding place for those who do these despicable acts to children.

I have been in touch with the Garda Commissioner about this matter who, of course, shares my concern at the revelations in the programme ….Investigations and bringing prosecutions in relation to offences carried out abroad are, of their nature, very difficult and I do not  want to raise any unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved. But I  believe that people are entitled to be reassured that we are doing everything  open to us to counteract this evil where ever it takes place.”

(Underlining ours)

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  1. Eddie Finnegan says:

    And there was I thinking that the investigation of RTÉ should be in the hands of the MINISTER OF JUSTICE rather than left to Pat Rabbitte. Silly me! Still, a man who can hint at unlocking the Seal of Confession might have ways of getting Aoife Kavanagh to reveal her reliable source ?

  2. Has anybody actually confronted Mr Shatter directly about this matter? Or brought it to the Taoiseach’s attention. If so, I would strongly expect some kind of public apology from Mr Shatter, regretting that he seemed to endorse that wrongful allegation against Fr Reynolds as though it were an established fact. Surely Mr Kenny, who was so outspoken against what he deemed unacceptable Vatican procedures, cannot condone such a failure to apologise from one of his own appointees?

  3. Pádraig McCarthy says:

    In October, I pointed this out in a letter in the Irish Times.
    I sent an email last week to the Minister. This morning I received this reply:

    “Thank you for your email of 19 November, 2011 about a statement made by the Minister for Justice and Equality in the light of a Prime Time investigates programme.

    It is not accepted that the Minister’s statement in the light of the Prime Time programme in question could reasonably be open to the interpretation that the Minister was commenting in any way on the accuracy or otherwise of specific claims made in the programme. The statement the Minister made was based on an assumption that the matters detailed on the programme had been fully researched and corroborated in accordance with proper journalistic and ethical standards. It is now known of course that with regard to Fr. Reynolds not only did he deny the allegations made but he also offered through his solicitor to engage in DNA testing and, despite said offer being made, the programme was broadcast. The Minister, together with his cabinet colleagues views this with the utmost seriousness and fully supports the inquiry that Minister Rabbitte proposed as agreed by Cabinet this week.

    Alan Shatter TD’s Constituency Office
    Minister for Justice and Equality”

    I replied as follows:

    “Thank you for your reply.
    You write: “The statement the Minister made was based on an assumption that the matters detailed on the programme had been fully researched …”
    This is precisely the point: it is an assumption which the Minister should never have made. I pointed this out in a letter in the Irish Times following the first RTÉ apology on 7 & 8 October.
    It would not be acceptable in a court of law. He must know better. It is all the more disturbing both that he is a lawyer of many years experience, and that he is Minister for Justice.
    If a bishop were to make such an assumption in a statement, he would be rightly castigated.

    You write: “It is not accepted that the Minister’s statement in the light of the Prime Time programme in question could reasonably be open to the interpretation …”
    It may not be accepted in his constituency office, but it is certainly the perception among many people outside that office.

    For these reasons, he must urgently consider issuing a clarification and an apology. A note should also be appended to his statement on http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR11000064.
    If he fails to do this, his position in government must be in question.
    I do not wish the Minister any ill; my father had a saying many years ago: “it could happen to a bishop”. The Minister is not infallible. I simply want to see him act with justice.”

    And to this I received the following reply:

    “Please be assured that the Minister takes this matter very seriously. The Minister considered the matter with the Taoiseach and his colleagues in Government at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. That meeting decided that there should be an independent inquiry to determine the true facts and circumstances which led to the Prime Time programme on Fr Reynolds being broadcast on RTÉ in May of this year.

    More details about the inquiry can be found on the following link:


    The Minister looks forward to this report.

    Your comments and suggestions will be brought to the Minister’s attention.”

    The Minister is kicking for touch.

    Pádraig McCarthy

  4. well said Padraig

    Shatter is a lawyer. He knew exactly what he was saying. Media and political collusion.

    Partly down to a witch hunt mentality. Mainly down to an assumption, in the media/political class, that they can say what they want about Catholics and not expect a reply or challenge.. until now

    Look at how shocked and dumbstruck Kenny et al were when the Vatican had the audacity to challenge his speech on factual grounds..

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