Sunday 16 June 2019

FF claims Ross 'hijacked' judicial appointments

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Agency, Dublin
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Agency, Dublin
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Government has been criticised for not filling judicial vacancies that have arisen in the Court of Appeal.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan accused the Government of failing to nominate new judges to the court, and claimed that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan had allowed policy on the judiciary to be "hijacked" by Transport Minister Shane Ross.

His remarks came after the new president of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Bermingham, warned that delays to cases being heard would get worse unless new judges were urgently appointed.

Two of the court's 10 judges who retired this year have not yet been replaced and three more vacancies are due to arise soon. Mr Ross has been seeking reform of how judges are appointed to reduce political influence in their selection. The measure was included in the Programme for Government.

But the Judicial Appointments Bill, which was described as a "dog's dinner" by the Attorney General, has been subject to dozens of amendments and has not yet been passed by the Oireachtas. Mr O'Callaghan, whose party opposes the bill, said: "When Government fails to appoint judges, the people who suffer are the citizens who are entitled to have their cases heard."

A Department of Justice spokesperson last night said: "Further appointments to the Court of Appeal are under consideration."

Irish Independent

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