Thursday 21 September 2017

There's no justice in Ross shunning the experts in favour of his vapid populism

Shane Ross and Cllr for Glencullen/Sandyford Kevin Daly at the reopening of Stepaside garda station earlier this month. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Shane Ross and Cllr for Glencullen/Sandyford Kevin Daly at the reopening of Stepaside garda station earlier this month. Photo: Justin Farrelly

Willie O'Dea

One of the most glib and idiotic utterances during last year's UK Brexit referendum came from the Tory minister and Leave campaigner Michael Gove, who declared British people "have had enough of experts".

It was a frantic attempt to deflect from the Leave campaign's inability to answer charges Brexit would damage the UK economically. It is a common tactic among desperate political charlatans, especially when their failures on other fronts are about to emerge.

It is also the fake underpinning to Shane Ross's Judicial Appointments Bill which is being hurriedly debated this week. What Ross has forced the Government to do is ask the Dáil to accept - and so far only Sinn Féin does - that we cast expert advice to the margins and look to the way contestants on 'Eurovision' or 'Big Brother' are picked when filling future judicial vacancies. As we saw with last week's debacle, the current system of identifying potential judges could do with being strengthened to prevent future cabinets doing an end run around the spirit of the law while claiming to be entirely within it. What Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is presenting to us in-loco-Shane Ross is not reform. Rather than relying on careful thought and research into best practice in other common law systems, what we get is a Bill dreamed up in Shane Ross's head with the sole ambition of gaining him attention.

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