Ireland’s Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is fighting for his political future as he faces into a vote of no confidence in the Dublin parliament.
Deputies began the debate on the motion on Tuesday evening amid growing protests over police recordings of telephone conversations.
Shatter’s handling of issues which led to the resignation of police commissioner Martin Callinan last week are also in the spotlight.
Fianna Fail have called on the minister to resign in wake of the revelations that phone calls to police stations have been recorded for decades.
Sinn Fein have also called on the minister to explain why Irish PM Enda Kenny didn’t inform Shatter of the controversy as soon as details were outlined to him by Ireland’s Attorney General Maire Whelan.
They are also demanding to know why Whelan didn’t inform Kenny when she first learned of the problem last year.
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said, “This debate will give the Government an opportunity to come clean over events surrounding the recordings controversy.
“The issue of the day is that the Government has not been accountable for its actions and we will use the opportunity over tonight and tomorrow to hold them to account.”
Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin told the Irish Times that the decision to table the motion was taken in relation to a ‘long series of issues.’
He referred to Mr Shatter’s handling of the penalty points controversy and his ‘consistent and persistent’ undermining of the whistle-blowers involved.
Martin also referred to Shatter’s ‘adversarial approach’ to the recent issue of the bugging of the offices of the Garda Síochana (police) Ombudsman Commission (overseer).
The motion has been tabled as part of private members business in the Dáil and will be debated over two days, finishing Wednesday.
A Government spokesman told the paper that the focus on ‘personalities and the politics of opposition’ was undermining investigations into one of the ‘gravest breaches of security.’