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Mac Lochlainn calls for end to political appointments to the judiciary

6 June, 2014 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Government to ensure that they are the last Government to make political appointments to the judiciary.

He made the appeal today as the second stage of his Reform of Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013 was debated in the Dáil.

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;

“I am disappointed that the Government are opposing my bill but I remain hopeful that the current governmental review of the judicial appointments process will bring an end to political appointments to the judiciary.

“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 has been embedded in Irish society.

“We cannot allow a ‘jobs for the boys and girls’ 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 also want to see the establishment of a Sentencing Council here in this State that provides clear sentencing guidelines to the judiciary similar to that in place in England and Wales. This would ensure accountability and consistency in judicial decisions.”


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