All judges have earned posts, insists Shatter
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has criticised an Independent TD for his "outrageous" comments on the appointment of a High Court judge.
Shane Ross (pictured) had criticised the way the Government appointed judges, saying it was well known that the current process was a "bit of a racket".
He said it was designed to ensure that the right people got into the right jobs because of their "political pedigree" in many cases. And he said that there were European candidates who had stood for Fine Gael with "at least one now in the High Court". "Is that a co-incidence?" he asked.
But Mr Shatter, who has had several rows with the judiciary, said what Mr Ross had said was outrageous and "traduces the reputation of a member of the High Court who is readily identifiable".
Mr Ross said he had been meticulously careful not to name anybody – but wanted to point out that people with political connections seemed to get appointed when their party was in power.
The Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB), which is chaired by Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Denham, takes applications from people who wants to become judges. It makes recommendations for appointments, with the final decision made by government.
Mr Ross said that to the best of his knowledge, JAAB had never conducted a single interview with a judge for a position. He said JAAB was known down in the Four Courts as "JAAB for the Boys".
The Independent TD went on to say that there were people who had got through the "political hoops" in JAAB under the Fine Gael/Labour Government who would never have got through those same hoops under Fianna Fail.
But Mr Shatter said he could not let Mr Ross malign the country's judges. He defended every single appointment made by his Government after consulting with the JAAB.