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This Government should be the last to make political appointments to the judiciary – Mac Lochlainn, Sinn Féin

3 May, 2013 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

This Government should be the last to make political appointments to the judiciary – Mac Lochlainn, Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Fine Gael/Labour Government to ensure that they are the last Government to have made political appointments to the judiciary. He made the appeal directly to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, during Minsters Questions. Deputy Mac Lochlainn has 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.

The Donegal North East TD said;

“The appointments process needs drastic reform and public 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 a nod after demonstrating their loyalty to either Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour or 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.”


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