Monday 26 February 2018

An independent judiciary is essential for all of us

IN theory, the three branches of Government – executive, legislature and judiciary – are a federation of equals. Despite the separation of powers, the executive is the strongest. The nucleus of executive power has arguably become too powerful in recent years, with the introduction of a wave of emergency laws – often without any meaningful debate in the Dail and Seanad.

There is little public respect for politicians, the legislative arm, lesser still for judges who – in the words of Alexander Hamilton – are the weakest arm because they hold neither sword nor purse.

The relationship between the executive and the judiciary, whose take-home pay has dropped by a third since 2009, is under unprecedented strain. Judges are not and can not be immune from the reduction in living and employment standards imposed on all citizens. They are not so high that they are above the law.

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