New Attorney General will have 'demanding, crucial role over Brexit'
The Chief Justice has highlighted the independence and "weighty national importance" of the office of the Attorney General, particularly in the context of Brexit.
The Attorney General (AG) has a "crucial" role in vindicating the rights of citizens, maintaining the highest standards of the legal profession and as a point of contact between the judiciary and other branches of government, Ms Justice Susan Denham said.
The role is "particularly demanding in an era where Brexit is likely to throw up very complex legal problems", she added, in a short address welcoming the new AG, Séamus Woulfe, at the short ceremony before a packed Supreme Court.
That preceded another ceremony before the Supreme Court later yesterday when the former AG, Máire Whelan, made the necessary declaration of a judge of the Court of Appeal.
That traditional ceremony, presided over by the Chief Justice, was attended by judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.
In her address earlier welcoming Mr Woulfe, the Chief Justice said the separation of powers in the State means each great organ of the State has its own specific powers.
"It is a system of checks and balances and inevitably the courts make decisions on the actions of other branches of government," she said.
"Consequently, it is necessary that there be some distance between the branches.
"Therefore, the role of the Attorney General is crucial in providing a point of contact, and a method of communication, between the judiciary and other branches of government," she added.
The Chief Justice said the AG is legal adviser to the Government but is not a member of the Government and is independent.
Ms Justice Denham also said the "public interests are committed to the care of the Attorney General".