Thursday 17 August 2017

It's time to end toxic political influence in our judicial system

Change is hard to achieve in conservative Ireland, yet we are on the cusp of a major breakthrough when it comes to choosing our judges, writes Shane Ross

'Our judiciary are good at their job. Unfortunately, as they see the end of political patronage on the horizon they have spotted perfect new patrons: themselves'. Stock photo: Deposit Photos
'Our judiciary are good at their job. Unfortunately, as they see the end of political patronage on the horizon they have spotted perfect new patrons: themselves'. Stock photo: Deposit Photos

Shane Ross

President of the High Court Peter Kelly is held in high esteem by nearly everybody. Including me. He has always been a no-nonsense judge, happy to kick against the pricks.

Last week he waded in on the side of the judges against the mildly reforming Bill set to remove the selection of judges from the grip of political cronyism. He dubbed the Government's Judicial Appointments Commission Bill as "ill conceived, ill advised" and being processed with "undue haste".

Not surprising from a judge, but maybe a bit surprising from Peter Kelly. Such a statement is expected from some of his friends on the bench. On a daily basis they have been circling the wagons round the ramparts of the Four Courts, eager to denounce the Bill as a "kick in the teeth" for the judiciary. Legal celebrities have been wheeled out one by one, to heap pressure on TDs.

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