Nomination to the Supreme Court postponed after Ross intervention
Dublin Rathdown TD argued at Cabinet three judicial nominations were premature
Minister for Transport Shane Ross: While there was no row with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Mr Ross felt three nominations to be premature. Photograph: Gareth Chaney
A planned nomination to the Supreme Court has been postponed because Minister for Transport Shane Ross felt it was one of a number of judicial appointments which were premature.
The Cabinet on Tuesday nominated five new members of the High Court – Brian O’Moore SC, Mark Sanfey SC, Mary Rose Gearty SC, Niamh Hyland SC and solicitor Mark Heslin – for appointment by President Michael D Higgins.
The vacancies arose because of a number of earlier appointments to the Court of Appeal. However, it is understood it had been planned that three other judicial appointments would go to Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday, but they were pulled.
Sources said these were an appointment each to the Circuit Court, the District Court and the Supreme Court. It is understood that while there was no row between Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Mr Ross, the Dublin-Rathdown TD felt these three nominations were premature.
Sources said the five High Court nominations were brought to Cabinet on the same day as amendments to the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, the reform to the way judges are appointed which has been championed by Mr Ross.
The amendments brought by Mr Flanagan seek to restore some elements of the Bill to what the Government initially intended, before many changes were made by the Opposition in the Seanad.
The Bill is expected to enter its final legislative changes in the coming weeks.
Following the changes made in the Seanad, Mr Flanagan asked his department to carry out, in conjunction with the Attorney General, scrutiny of the Bill for “policy, legal/constitutional consistency”, according to sources.
The result of the review was the amendments at Cabinet on Tuesday.