26 Jun 2022

Offaly politician says compromise needed in judiciary row

65 child care applications in 2015

Offaly councillor and RENUA Ireland leader, John Leahy has blasted the "damaging" row between the government and Judiciary over plans to change how judges are appointed.

"It is futile and should be resolved by compromise from both sides," Leahy warned.

"Anyone who thinks there is no need for reform of the political appointment of Judges must surely have had their mind changed by the Marie Whelan affair. Politicians must be taken out of the process," he added.

"However in this case the cure appears to be worse than the disease. The current row over judicial appointments appears to consist of a clash of egos that can only damage the entire process of judicial reform," Leahy insisted. 

He said it can only be a matter for concern when the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court, and the President of the District Court are opposed to the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill.

"However, this does not disguise the fact that the Judiciary need reform and have lost the confidence of the public."

In particular, Leahy said the apparent "egotistical unwillingness" of the Judiciary to "appropriately implement" tough sanctions on issues such as bail, "has forfeited the confidence of the people."

"Judicial concern, though, about the choice of a lay non Judicial Majority on any Board is understandable. Non experts picking the winner of a Judicial post such as the Chief Justice is not a sustainable position."

However there must be, given the failure of the Judiciary to understand the concerns of citizens, a substantive lay minority," he said.

"Shane Ross though is also going to have to compromise. We already have too many Quangos and advisory bodies in this country where the one common theme of their boards is an utter absence of knowledge about that which they are technically in charge of."

"Mr Ross should realise politics does not exist to serve his ego and accept a dilution of his proposals."

"Should he fail to do so and we are plunged into an un-wanted election Mr Ross might end up seeking a return to the Seanad far more speedily than he desires," Leahy concluded

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