Five questions for the Justice Minister
Does he believe Sinn Féin is an appropriate party to work with in order to ensure the passing of the Judicial Appointments Bill?
Charlie Flanagan has said that because the Government has a minority, on all matters that fall outside the confidence and supply agreement ministers must seek support from the opposition on a case-by-case basis.
What has the minister agreed to in relation to sentencing guidelines in order to secure the support of Sinn Féin?
The minister - after seeking the Attorney General's advice - has agreed to seek to strengthen the provisions in the Judicial Council Bill in relation to a Sentencing Information Committee to provide for non-binding sentencing guidelines, which he said he supported in principle.
Does the minister personally back the bill?
The minister noted the legislation was approved by Cabinet.
Is the bill being brought only to keep the support of Shane Ross?
The bill arises from a Programme for Government commitment, he said.
Is he concerned a lay majority may lead to undue lobbying?
The commission will have lay and legal members. The Government believes a diversity of skills and perspectives will be valuable, the minister said, adding the members will be required to discharge their duties in an ethical and legal manner.