Mr Shatter is facing serious questions about his level of knowledge of thousands of secret recordings of calls to and from garda stations which began in the 1980s and continued until last November.
The minister said he only learned of the practice on Monday, even though senior officials in his department were told two weeks ago.
The Government’s legal adviser, Attorney General Maire Whelan, was told last November about the affair.
Mr Shatter will be in the spotlight today in a special Dail debate on the various garda controversies, during which he is expected to withdraw comments he made against garda whistleblowers.
The biggest crisis to hit the force in three decades – since a previous commissioner re- signed over the bugging of journalists’ phones – has resulted in a high-level inquiry that aims to establish the extent of the damage caused to the criminal justice system by the recordings. Former commissioner Patrick McLaughlin resigned in 1983.
The grave potential consequences of the taping by gardai were set out by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who admitted the tapes could have a “potential impact” on past, present and future court cases.A Commission of Investigation will ascertain if calls between solicitors and their clients and calls among gardai discussing investigations were ………………………………