No objection from Ross as senior judge appointed
Transport Minister Shane Ross has allowed another senior judge to be appointed despite very slow progress on his demands for a new judicial appointments system.
Cabinet yesterday cleared the way for Mr Justice George Bermingham to be President of the Court of Appeal, where he has served since 2014. The appointment was overseen by an interim group including the secretary general to the government, Martin Fraser; the Chief Justice, Judge Frank Clarke; the chair of the Public Appointments Service, Tom Moran; and the Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe.
The Judicial Appointments Bill, a key demand of Mr Ross in coalition talks back in May 2016, is due back in the Dáil within the next fortnight. But it was described as "a dog's dinner" by the Attorney General last month amid huge controversy and it faces an uncertain future with opposition from Fianna Fáil, which is underpinning the minority Coalition.
A spokesperson for Mr Ross's Independent Alliance said he had no objection to Judge Bermingham's appointment and the interim arrangement "mirrored" future legislation. Sources indicated the appointment was not discussed in detail at the Cabinet meeting but potential opposition from Mr Ross was dealt with in a side-bar meeting with himself, the Taoiseach, and the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
Mr Justice Bermingham was appointed a High Court judge in 2007 after 30 years' service as a barrister. Previously he was a Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Central, 1981-89, and served as a junior minister in the 1982-1987 coalition.