Friday 9 December 2016

Taoiseach slaps down Shane Ross over judge's oath

Published 16/11/2016 | 13:22

Sports Minister Shane Ross Photo: Tom Burke
Sports Minister Shane Ross Photo: Tom Burke

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has publicly slapped down Shane Ross over comments he made about judges needing reminding of their oath.

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In an unusual move, Mr Kenny distanced himself from his minister in the Dáil chamber after it was put to him that Mr Ross was undermining the judiciary with assertions that they lived a “charmed life”.

The minister wants a new declaration of interests for judges because they “they might forget their oath” of office to administer justice without fear or favour.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin put it to the Taoiseach that the Transport Minister’s statements were concerning and inappropriate.

He said that while the proposal for a declaration of interests had merit, the approach taken by Mr Ross was wrong.

Responding, Mr Kenny said he has the “upmost respect” for the members of the judiciary.

“I do not accept that members of the judiciary would forget their judicial oath in respect of decisions that they make.

“In that respect I dissociate myself from the remarks of Minister Ross,” the Taoiseach said.

“I find that the vast majority cases are dealt with in the best fashion by the courts. Some of these are appealed and some are overturned.

“I’m quite sure that members of the judiciary themselves are very cognisant of the fact that there are superior courts up to Supreme Court and even the European courts where cases have been overturned,” Mr Kenny said.

“I don’t have much association with members of the judiciary obviously. I expect them to do their job fully and completely and in the best interests of the law of the country that they serve.”

Fine Gael has yet to decide where it stands on the issue of requiring judges to make a declaration of interests.

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