Alan Shatter (Wikimedia)
Alan Shatter, recipient of mystery white powder and hate items, was saved by the government from a no-confidence motion this week. Photo by Wikimedia Commons
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Unknown parties sent a mysterious white powder and anti-Semitic material to the home of Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter on Wednesday morning. Called to the site, the army's bomb squad promptly cordoned off the estate but ruled after an hour that the powder was harmless.

Shatter, who belongs to the Fine Gael party, called in the army after reportedly opening the package himself and finding white powder inside.

Hoax powder packages are generally supposed to represent anthrax bacteria, not explosives, but the bomb disposal squad is responsible in either case.

In any case Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told the Dail that the hate incident is a "new low" for Ireland and divulged that similar items had been sent to the Department of Justice, which the Jewish minister heads.

As for the anti-Semitic material sent to Shatter, opinions differ on whether it was a swastika or a photograph of Nazi troopers bearing flags with swastikas.

On Wednesday evening the government voted down on a no-confidence motion in the Dail on Shatter, who has served as minister of Justice since since March 2011. The opposition had been calling for Shatter to resign, accusing him of callousness and incompetence. Unaffiliated Dail member Mick Wallace said the minister lacked any appetite for truth, transparency or accountability, according to the Irish Times. Shatter was defended by his party colleagues: finance minister Michael Noonan praised his competence and acused the Fianna Fail opposition party of "pretend outrage."