Tuesday 20 February 2018

Take political influence out of judicial appointments, TDs urge

THE appointments of judges and senior gardai should be taken entirely out of the hands of the Government, according to a group of TDs and senators.

The Oireachtas members launched a new bill which intends to remove all political influences from judicial appointments.

The Judicial Appointments Bill would result in the replacement of the Judicial Advisory Board (JAB) with an independent Judicial Appointments Council.

A second bill relating to the appointment of senior gardai will be published shortly.

Independent TD Shane Ross said a referendum would be required to implement the proposed bills.

“It is absolutely sacrosanct that judges and the gardai should be totally and utterly independent of government,” he said at a press conference in Buswell’s hotel in Dublin.

“Recent events at GSOC have proved the need to remove the appointment of the Garda Commissioner, top gardai and judges from ministerial and government control. My Bill addresses this in a radical manner.

“Those at the top of the administration of justice in Ireland must not only be independent of ministerial and government influence in their actions but must be appointed by a body which is not under government control,” Mr Ross added.

The new council would be made up of individuals from voluntary and community groups across the country. Members would be drawn from a “broad spectrum of society”, he added.

Mr Ross’s proposals were supported by a group of nine TDs and one senator, which includes Lucinda Creighton, Roisin Shortall, Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Feargal Quinn. TDs Catherine Murphy, Thomas Pringle, Maureen O'Sullivan, Mattie McGrath and Joan Collins also endorsed the bills.

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