Former Transport Minister Shane Ross has said Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe should resign rather than face impeachment proceedings in the Dáil.
Speaking on Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast, Mr Ross said his former Cabinet colleague should have resigned in August after it emerged he attended the controversial Oireachtas Golf Society Dinner.
The former Independent Alliance minister said it was wrong that Justice Woulfe attended the event and insisted members of the judiciary should he held to as high a standard as the politicians who stepped down over the controversy.
However, he said it is “a very different thing” to suggest Mr Woulfe’s case justified impeachment proceedings which were designed for "much more serious offences". “Seamus Woulfe is not corrupt, Seamus Woulfe made a mistake,” he added.
Mr Ross said the appointment of judges is a secretive process and only on one occasion during his time in Government was he given access to the names of the rejected candidates. This was when Frank Clarke was appointed as Chief Justice.
“That was the only time we were told and what was striking was that even the Cabinet were not confided in on who applied or who didn't apply,” he said.
His comments came after it emerged three sitting judges expressed an interest in the Supreme Court position which was ultimately given to Mr Woulfe.
Mr Ross said it was the "norm" for judicial appointments to be dealt with at the end of Cabinet meetings "on the nod" from ministers. "The system of how it was done was opaque," he said. He said on at least one occasion he blocked an appointment because it was too political.
He also claims former Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan threatened to resign during one of their arguments over judicial appointments. Mr Ross also discusses how he found Fine Gael ministers “distasteful” as a group but individually pleasant.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he is not pre-empting what will emerge ahead of a party leaders meeting today which will discuss the controversy surrounding Séamus Woulfe.