Speaking today in the Dáil, Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has commended the publishing of Deputy Shane Ross’ Judicial Appointments Bill, while reiterating that the government should not have a role in the judicial selection process to promote more transparency and fairness.
Referencing Sinn Féin’s Reform of Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Early last year my party published the ‘Reform of Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013’ which in a similar vein to Deputy Ross’ bill, sought to increase transparency and accountability in judicial appointments.
“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, promote the development of a non-partisan judiciary, and promote a culture of judicial independence.
“We must not allow a ‘jobs for the boys’ attitude to permeate something so fundamentally important as the administration of justice in this State.
“Sinn Féin believes that judicial independence is undermined by the current appointment process in the 26 Counties.
“Although we are in agreement with the intention of this bill, we do not agree with the model which Deputy Ross has chosen.
“While I and my party commend Deputy Ross’ address of the need for substantive reform we do not believe that the model he has laid down before us here today is the best one to deal with judicial appointments.
“That said, we are happy to support the passage of this bill to committee stage where we would seek to amend it appropriately and hopefully bring it more in line with the model proposed by us early last year.”