Political ‘blackmail’ behind deferring of judicial appointments

Michael McDowell: Cabinet’s decision on judicial appointments constitutionally wrong

Former tánaiste Michael McDowell: The Cabinet decision  not to appoint any new judges until a new law on judicial appointments is passed is constitutionally wrong, he said. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Former tánaiste Michael McDowell: The Cabinet decision not to appoint any new judges until a new law on judicial appointments is passed is constitutionally wrong, he said. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Former tánaiste Senator Michael McDowell has claimed there is political “blackmail’’ involved in deferring judicial appointments.

The Cabinet decided on Tuesday not to appoint any new judges until a new law on judicial appointments is passed.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has made the reform of judicial appointments a key part of the Independent Alliance’s Government agenda.

Mr McDowell said in the Seanad on Thursday the President of the High Court had suspended reforms he had brought in for want of judicial resources to implement them.

“This means that the ordinary business of the courts is being affected by this ‘blackmail deal’ that seems to have been done privately with the Minister for Transport, Deputy Ross,’’ he added.

Mr McDowell said the Cabinet’s decision was constitutionally wrong.

“The Constitution provides that it is the Executive’s function to advise the President to appoint judges,’’ he added. “This is not an academic issue.’’