Frances Fitzgerald replaces Alan Shatter as Irish justice minister

Frances Fitzgerald Image copyright PA
Image caption Frances Fitzgerald was previously the minister for children

Frances Fitzgerald has been appointed as Irish justice minister, following the resignation of Alan Shatter.

Mr Shatter resigned on Wednesday over a report on police whistleblowing allegations that criticised a number of agencies, including the Department of Justice.

He had been under pressure for some time following a series of controversies.

Charlie Flanagan will replace Ms Fitzgerald as minister for children.

In his resignation letter, Mr Shatter said he disputed some aspects of the report on allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

However, he said he was anxious that any controversy that arose from it did not distract from the work of the government, or create difficulties for the coalition parties in the upcoming elections.

Sgt McCabe had raised concerns that senior officers had acted inappropriately in getting penalty points removed from the driving licences of well-connected offenders.

Image caption Alan Shatter was found to have breached data protection laws earlier this week

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told the parliament: "The report is critical of the inadequacy of the actions of a number of agencies, notably the Garda Síochána (police), the Department of Justice and Equality and the minister.

"He made up his mind and handed in his resignation, which I accepted with a reluctance."

Mr Shatter, a lawyer, was also in charge of defence, but responsibility for this has been assigned to Mr Kenny's own department on a temporary basis.

The report will be published on Friday, but Mr Shatter resigned after receiving a copy of it.

His resignation came a day after he was found to have broken data protections laws by disclosing personal information about independent TD Mick Wallace.

Last May, Mr Shatter revealed to Irish state broadcaster RTÉ that Mr Wallace had been cautioned by police for using his mobile phone while driving.

The issue became known as Shattergate.

Mr Shatter survived a no-confidence motion in the Irish parliament last month.

He became a government minister three years ago, and during his tenure he has never been far from controversy.

Two bugging scandals, a very bitter row over drivers' penalty points and his failure to complete a breathalyser test at a police checkpoint kept him in the headlines.

As the Republic of Ireland introduced painful austerity measures, Mr Shatter set out on a wide-ranging reform agenda, which included plans to close more than 100 police stations.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites