Sunday 25 August 2019

Ross accused over personal attacks on bill opponents

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Fianna Fáil has hit out at Shane Ross over "personalised" attacks aimed at those opposing his bill that seeks to overhaul how judges are appointed, which the party has termed a "frolick".

The Judicial Appointments Bill is currently before the Seanad. Fianna Fáil opposes the legislation with the major sticking point on both sides centring on the requirement for a lay majority on an advisory committee that will make recommendations to Cabinet on appointments.

The concern is a red line issue for the Transport Minister, for whom the bill formed part of his demands in exchange for supporting Leo Varadkar's Government.

Responding to criticism of the bill from former justice minister Alan Shatter, Mr Ross said that those opposing the bill, including Jim O'Callaghan, are lawyers.

"Vested interests will always oppose that bill," he said.

In response Mr O'Callaghan accused Mr Ross of personalising the debate, saying his opposition stemmed from the fact that it was a "really silly idea", not because of his legal background.

"You've a Government who are asleep at the wheel who are prepared to give him what he wants just to keep him on-side," he said.

"Whatever about Stepaside garda station, let him have that little frolick but the idea that we're going to change the method whereby judges are appointed for another one of his frolicks is nonsensical and reflects very badly on the Taoiseach and the Government," Mr O'Callaghan added.

Mr Ross did not respond to a request for comment.

Irish Independent

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