After stepping away from politics, Dublin Gazette caught up with the politician-turned-author Alan Shatter recently to get an insight into his career, and his new book, Frenzy and Betrayal: The Anatomy of a Political Assassination.
The book is a look back over his political career, highlighting the latter years of his political life.
He discusses when, as then Minister for Defence, he was under fire over complaints over the handling of the Sergeant Maurice McCabe issue relating to historic corruption in the force, culminating in his resignation – and his subsequent vindication of any wrongdoing by the O’Higgins Commission in 2016.
So, Alan, what inspired you to write the book?
I thought, firstly, it would be interesting for people to see the inside of how politics works. There have been all of these unprecedented controversial issues – a tsunami of them in the first half of 2014.
There was a lot written and said at the time [about me] by others and I thought due to the nature of the issues and the importance of the issues – I thought it was important to give a truthful chronological account of what occurred.
I tried to do it in a way that was not only truthful but also interesting – one or two of the reviews have said that it’s a bit like reading a thriller.
Have you got much of a response – or feedback from people – so far?
The feedback from people who have read the book has been quite extraordinary. It’s been positive.
I think the book is different from what a lot of people expected. I think a lot of political memoirs are really boring and even when you know the events, it can be difficult to see your way through them.
The book, as I say, was written in a way that is different to the tradition and people have found it a very interesting read.
I’ve been told people have been given insights, some of which are disturbing, about what happens in politics.
Because the events that took place had so much notoriety, I think it was important there was an accurate historical account.
How long did it take to write?
I started to write it in January 2015, but it was written on and off. A large chunk of the writing was done in 2015 but I couldn’t continue the book as I had to wait for events to work themselves out.
In the earlier chapters, to a degree, I was kind of anticipating where events would go and my anticipations ultimately proved pretty accurate.
It covers 2014, all the way through, and doesn’t finish until February 2019.
So, it was a rolling project and in the middle of it all I stopped to write another book to get my head out of it.
For me, personally, it was a very difficult time, but ultimately, I was proven to having told the truth and acted competently on various issues.
Since the release of the book, have any former colleagues got in touch? Have they reached out to you?
Some former colleagues who are in Fine Gael but are no longer members of the Oireachtas have been in contact and I received some nice congratulations.
Some former colleagues have expressed their astonishment at what occurred – the book has a lot of revelations that nobody knew of.
Do you have any future in politics, or has the whole experience soured your taste for it?
I am no longer a member of Fine Gael – I was a member of Fine Gael for nearly 40 years.
There are fantastic people in Fine Gael, but I have no confidence in the moral compass of the leadership in Fine Gael. I quietly didn’t pay my membership fee in 2018, and that was that.
I’m constantly asked if I will run in the next election. Unfortunately, if I was to run again, I would have to run as Independent. It’s something I’m giving consideration to.
I enjoy writing and have far more free time to write. But there is no definitive decision made yet and I will have to discuss it with my family.