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How Independent is the Judiciary?

Posted on: February 15th, 2006

How independent is the judiciary? There was a strong reaction from Government benches this week when I posed the question:

Mr. Ross: Senator Jim Walsh raised the matter of the Judiciary on which Senators Norris and O’Toole and I tabled a motion some time ago. I refer to political appointments to the Judiciary and seek a debate on ending political appointments thereto.

Mr. Lydon: Certainly not.

Mr. Ross: For so long, one party has put its own people in power and then another party has appointed its people to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Wilson: That is not correct.

Ms Feeney: Five High Court judges were appointed and they had nothing to do with our party.

Mr. Ross:
…In the Bar Library people predict the outcome of Supreme Court decisions on the basis of party affiliation.

Ms Feeney:
Fine Gael will tell the Senator that is not right.

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Ross is aware the Judiciary is independent.

Mr. Ross:
The Judiciary is not independent.

Mr. Norris: It is supposed to be.

Mr. Ross: It is not independently appointed.

An Cathaoirleach: It is independent, whatever way it is appointed.

Mr. Ross: That is exactly the subject on which I request a debate.