'No' campaigners question judge's links to FG
Published 21/04/2015 | 02:30
Leading campaigners for a 'No' in the same-sex marriage referendum have raised questions about the Referendum Commission chairman's "perceived links to Fine Gael".
High Court Judge Kevin Cross, who heads the independent group tasked with explaining the issues around the May 22 vote, was the subject of controversy just after his appointment as a judge in October 2011. The then justice minister, Alan Shatter, issued a strong defence of Mr Cross after it was reported that he had donated €1,200 to a Fine Gael candidate ahead of the 2011 general election.
Yesterday, two leading campaigners against the forthcoming referendum being advocated by the government parties, questioned "the perception of links to Fine Gael" involving Judge Cross, who declined to comment. Both Senator Ronan Mullen and Keith Mills, of the organisation "Mothers and Fathers Matter", stressed they did not doubt Judge Cross's integrity or independence as a High Court judge, nor in his current role ensuring voters are informed of the facts surrounding the referendum.
Senator Mullen said he believed many judges had party political links before being appointed to the bench, but promptly abandoned these as judges. "But Judge Cross's role in the referendum draws him closer to the political sphere. And this means that he must not only be impartial - he must be seen to be impartial," Senator Mullen said.
Mr Mills said he also had misgivings about the perception of political links.