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Saturday 19 January 2019

Barrister acting for Taylor at tribunal is nominated as judge

Senior counsel Tara Burns
Senior counsel Tara Burns
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A barrister who is representing former head of the Garda press office Supt Dave Taylor at the Disclosures Tribunal has been appointed to the High Court.

Senior counsel Tara Burns was nominated for the position at yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

She was among four judicial appointments agreed in spite of concerns from Transport Minister Shane Ross.

The minister is understood to have questioned the process for selecting the judges, in what one ministerial colleague described as a "tiresome" contribution.

The Judicial Appointments Bill, which will dramatically overhaul how judges are picked, passed through the Dáil last week, but still has to be approved by the Seanad.

Mr Ross has previously objected to any new appointments being made before it is implemented - but the judiciary has warned court sittings will be delayed due to a lack of numbers.

He agreed to allow four names go forward for appointment yesterday after Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan insisted they were essential for the proper administration of justice in the country.

Aside from Ms Burns's appointment, High Court judges Marie Baker and Brian McGovern have been promoted to the Court of Appeal. They will take up their new roles when formally appointed by the President in the coming days.

The country's most senior criminal courts judge, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy of the Central Criminal Court, will also move to the Court of Appeal. However, he will not be formally appointed until after the retirement of Judge Alan Mahon on July 2.

Mr Justice McCarthy has previously spoken out against the Government plans to create a new appointments board that will be chaired by a lay person.

Last year, he accused the Government of showing a "lack of respect" for the judiciary.

He expressed a belief that the plans being pushed by Mr Ross departed from the spirit of the Constitution and international principles about judicial independence.

Ms Burns is regarding as one of the country's top barristers and has worked for a number of high-profile clients. In recent months she has been part of the legal team representing Mr Taylor at the tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Ms Baker is a graduate of UCC and was called to the Bar in 1984. She became a senior counsel in 2004 and was appointed to the High Court in 2014.

Mr McGovern has sat in the High Court since 2006.

Irish Independent

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