Helen McEntee outlines process of appointing next Chief Justice

Mr Justice Frank Clarke due to retire this October when he reaches the age of 70

Chief Justice, Mr Justice Frank Clarke: due to retire in October.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Chief Justice, Mr Justice Frank Clarke: due to retire in October. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A new advisory committee will be set up to help identify eligible and qualified candidates interested in the post of Chief Justice under plans brought to Cabinet by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

The memo outlined a process for such a nomination following the retirement of Mr Justice Frank Clarke this October when he reaches the age of 70.

Ms McEntee told Cabinet that it is proposed that a similar process be used to that for the appointment of Mr Justice Clarke as Chief Justice in 2017, the President of the Court of Appeal in 2018, the Presidents of the Circuit Court and the District Court in 2019, the President of the High Court in 2020, and the President of the District Court in 2021.

A non-statutory Advisory Committee will be established help find interested candidates, including amongst serving judges.

The committee will examine the suitability of the candidates and make recommendations to the Minister for Justice.

The committee will be made up of a senior member of the judiciary, the attorney general and a lay member. It would be required to establish its own procedures for inviting and assessing expressions of interest from applicants, including serving judges.

Ms McEntee also told Ministers she intends to later this week publish an expert scoping report into community safety and well-being in Drogheda, as well as an implementation plan based on the report’s 73 actions.

The Drogheda report, carried out by Vivian Geiran, the former heard of the Probation Service, was commissioned following the murder last year of a young man from the Co Louth town.

Separately, the Minister also updated the Cabinet on plans to establish a gambling regulator. Draft legislation will now be published later this year as part of this process.

The Cabinet was also separately told that spending across Government departments from the start of the year to the end of February 2021 was €12.4 billion.

This was €356 million or 3 per cent ahead of profile and €2,110 million or 20.5 per cent higher than expenditure for the same period in 2020.