November 13, 2020
Minister for Justice should explain why she didn’t inform her government colleagues about judicial applications – Martin Kenny TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has called on the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to explain why she did not inform her government colleagues of expressions of interest from members of the judiciary for appointment to the Supreme Court, in advance of the Cabinet deciding to appoint the then Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe.

Teachta Kenny said:

“The system of judicial appointments remains untransparent and murky.

“Is it vital that the protocols that are in place are followed.

“It is clear from the Cabinet handbook that all party leaders and other Ministers should be informed in advance of any proposals to make appointments to the judiciary. 

“Given the length of time the vacancy in the Supreme Court existed, it is logical that there would be numerous expressions of interest from existing members of the judiciary; presumably from experience and well qualified judges.

“Did anyone in government consider this? And why did the Minister for Justice not inform her Cabinet colleagues of other expressions of interest prior to the appointment of the then Attorney General? She should clarify this matter without delay.

“The Fianna Fáil leader, and now Taoiseach, was particularly critical of the appointment of the previous Attorney General to the Court of Appeal in 2017. It would seem logical that in this case he would have applied due diligence to this appointment and asked numerous questions.

“The Taoiseach should confirm what he knew about other applicants, or whether he asked if there were other applicants, given his previous comments.”

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