Sinn Féin publishes bill to end political cronyism in the courts
February 1, 2013
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has this week published legislation to put an end to the system of political appointees being made judges in Ireland.
The Reform of Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013 is designed to amend the way in which the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board operates in order to increase transparency and accountability in judicial appointments.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn TD said;
“Confidence in the justice system is contingent on a judiciary which is free from political control or political or other bias. It is essential that there is an independent and impartial judiciary which is representative of the community it serves.
“A truly representative judiciary would enhance confidence in the justice system. It would also promote the development of a non-partisan judiciary, and thereby further promote a culture of judicial independence. Future judicial appointments should be drawn from a wider pool of qualified candidates that is fully representative of the community in order to eradicate the corrosive and unaccountable system of patronage previously in operation.
“This bill is part of Sinn Féin’s campaign to end the political cronyism that is embedded in Irish society. For too long we have all been aware of stories the length and breadth of the State where judges were appointed with a wink and nod after demonstrating their loyalty to either Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and the PDs. The days of the Old Boy’s Club that dominates the legal and political spheres in Ireland must come to an end. They have failed our people.
“We cannot allow a ‘jobs for the boys’ attitude to permeate something so fundamentally important as the administration of justice in this State and this bill is one part of a range of measures that we intend to propose. As well as increasing transparency and accountability in the appointment of judges. We also want to see a judicial council and complaints body that will hold judges to account, as well as a Code of Ethics that they should abide by. We are calling on the government, if it is serious about ending corruption, to stop the practice of political appointments being made to the bench and support this legislation.”