Whelan appointment row is all about the politics and not about the Judge

Source: Green Party

Fine Gael need to answer how they keep Independent Ministers in the loop

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD  said today: “The row about the appointment of the former Attorney General Máire Whelan to the Court of Appeal has been inappropriately diverted into a discussion about the merits of the individual in question. This was a mistake because the questions that need to be answered are all about the political process and not about the Judge.

“In the Dáil debate last night I asked the Tánaiste whether it was normal practice for Fine Gael to inform her independent Ministerial colleagues about sensitive judicial appointments in advance of any Cabinet decision. She refused to answer the question citing the need to maintain Cabinet confidentiality but this is not about what was said in any Cabinet meeting, it is about how the Government either works together or falls apart.

“It is remarkable that Minister Shane Ross didn’t turn up to the Dáil debate last night. It is becoming increasingly clear that his interest in the process of appointing judges is a populist pretence rather than a thing of any real substance.

“We need to know when he found out about the proposed appointment, and whether Leo Varadkar mentioned it to him on their Sunday meeting in advance of the Cabinet meeting.   Why he did not shout stop when it came to the last minute appointment which went against everything he says he stands for?

“We accept the comments of the Chief Justice on the need for the Oireachtas to recognise the separation of powers but the public needs reassurance that both the letter and the spirit of the law is being upheld when it comes to the vital area of judicial appointments. Members of the Oireachtas retain the right to question the Government about how they go about their work.  Such questions if correctly framed only strengthen our constitutional democratic and judicial system.”