Ross in new row on judges’ se­lec­tion

The Irish Times - - Home News - MARIE O’HAL­LO­RAN

Min­is­ter for Trans­port Shane Ross and Fianna Fáil jus­tice spokesman Jim O’Cal­laghan crossed swords in a Dáil spat over con­tro­ver­sial leg­is­la­tion to re­form how judges are se­lected.

Mr Ross ac­cused Mr O’Cal­laghan of hav­ing a “vested in­ter­est” and said he was rep­re­sent­ing “not only the peo­ple of his con­stituency but the voice of the Law Li­brary”.

He also claimed Mr O’Cal­laghan “can­not stom­ach hav­ing a lay ma­jor­ity” on the com­mis­sion to con­sider ap­point­ments, part of the Ju­di­cial Ap­point­ments Com­mis­sion Bill, which has been cham­pi­oned by Mr Ross but is the sub­ject of divi­sion within the Gov­ern­ment.


Mr O’Cal­laghan said: “I’m not go­ing to apol­o­gise to a for­mer stock­bro­ker for the fact that I’m a bar­ris­ter.” He said that when in the Dáil, he spoke for his party and con­stituents. He said Mr Ross dis­played “an ex­tra­or­di­nary lack of po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity”.

Mr Ross also tan­gled with his Cab­i­net col­league Min­is­ter for Jus­tice Char­lie Flana­gan, who has re­spon­si­bil­ity for steer­ing the leg­is­la­tion through the Oireach­tas. Mr Flana­gan said Mr Ross was en­ti­tled to his view on the na­ture of ju­di­cial ap­point­ments “but I do not share them”.

Mr Ross had said the prime ob­jec­tive of the Bill “is to re­move the rot­ten prac­tice of politi­cians ap­point­ing friends, cronies and po­lit­i­cal loy­al­ists to the bench”.

But his Cab­i­net col­league said it was “un­fair and un­true” for Mr Ross to say “that our ju­di­ciary is com­prised of friends of gov­ern­ment, past and present”.

“Our judges are highly re­garded both at home within this ju­ris­dic­tion and abroad.”

Fine Gael and the In­de­pen­dent Al­liance are at odds in Gov­ern­ment over the leg­is­la­tion.

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