Judicial appointments Bill hits Oireachtas roadblock

As the “A” Team would say don’t you just love it when a plan does right !!!!!

Shane Ross denies having ‘vendetta’ against judiciary

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has rejected claims he had a “vendetta” against the judiciary or the legal profession in promoting controversial legislation to change the system of selecting judges.

Legislation being sought by Minister for Transport Shane Ross to overhaul judicial appointments is unlikely to be passed for the summer due to a new procedural delay.

The Oireachtas Committee on Justice has voted against considering the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill next week, which means the legislation is highly unlikely to be passed before the summer recess.

Members of the committee expressed concern on Wednesday that the bill was being railroaded through the Oireachtas.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said he would support the Bill but would like to see a number of amendments.

The decision came as Minister for Transport Shane Ross rejected claims in the Dáil he had a “vendetta” against the judiciary or the legal profession in promoting controversial legislation to change the system of selecting judges.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “I certainly don’t have any grudge or axe to bear against these people or this institution at all,” he said, adding that his father had been managing director of a firm of solicitors.

Just five other TDs including Minister of State David Stanton, Fianna Fáil’s Mary Butler and Willie O’Dea, and Sinn Féin justice spokesman Jonathan O’Brien and his party colleague Peadar Tóibín were present in the Dáil for Mr Ross’s speech.

Debate resumed on Wednesday morning on the bill which replaces the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB), creates a new commission with a lay majority and a lay chairperson. It also limits the number of nominees for a position to three to be put before government.

Mr Ross said it was “absolutely untrue” that it was a “kick in the teeth” not to have the Chief Justice as chairperson, one of the main criticisms of the Bill.

The chair is the most powerful position, he said and “it shouldn’t be an insider who’s in the chair in any position of that sort in any walk of life. It’s an institutional decision and not a personal one about any of them at all.”

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