Recently, however, Mr. Shatter did manage to let slip a piece of gossip he'd picked up from An Garda Siochana. A juicy tidbit about his nemesis in the Dail, Mick Wallace. A case that would surely turn the voters against their elected representative.
It was Mr. Shatter attempting to act the champion for the Irish people when he proclaimed that Mick Wallace was the recipient of favors from a garda who let him go without penalizing the Wexford TD for mobile phone usage while driving.
Why does he get away with a crime, Mr. Shatter wanted to know, while the rest of the downtrodden Irish taxpayers get assessed penalty points against their otherwise pristine records?
Why indeed? Has Mr. Wallace not been vocal about gardai not using discretion but cracking down hard on banned mobile phone use?
Suddenly the question turned and Mr. Wallace wanted to know how Mr. Shatter came to know of the incident in which he was stopped for illegal phoning and then let go at the discretion of the garda. That sort of confidential information is not regularly shared with politicians. He had to have gone digging for it.
The party in opposition is now calling for Mr. Shatter's resignation, and Mr. Wallace plans to lodge a complaint with the Standards in Public Office Commission. Mr. Shatter's own colleagues are supporting him, to an extent. Not all, it turns out, are on board the hypocrisy train.
There are some who see Mr. Shatter's actions as that of a horse's arse, rather than a champion of justice. They see petulance and pettiness and an attempt to make something out of nothing, putting Fine Gael at risk of becoming the party of whingers.
Using confidential information to damage a political rival is something that requires finesse and skill, an action perfected by Chicago's Irish-American political machine. Mr. Shatter is, unfortunately, a rookie in a professional's game and he's learning that a champion of justice can stumble over his laurels when he overplays his hand.