Standoff between courts and state

Photo: © pixabay

Ministers are preparing for a Cabinet showdown this morning over plans to overhaul the appointment of judges.

Transport minister Shane Ross is demanding the government move ahead with its plans – while the Fine Gael minister responsible for the law is encouraging TDs to speak against it.

The long-awaited Judicial Appointments Commission Bill is due to make its debut in the Dáil this evening, when it will be introduced by the justice minister Charlie Flanagan.

It’s being pushed forward at the behest of the Independent Alliance – and in particular the transport minister Shane Ross, who doesn’t want the names of judges put forward by a body dominated by lawyers.

But although cabinet sources say the government is determined to press ahead with the bill, last night it emerged Flanagan was unhappy with some of Shane Ross’s commentary, and parts of the bill itself – and even wants Fine Gael backbenchers to speak against it.

The cabinet will also discuss the unprecedented letter written by the Chief Justice and leading colleagues last night, saying the bill had “serious implications for the administration of justice”.

If the bill does continue to the Dáil, it will only pass thanks to the support of Sinn Féin – given that Fianna Fáil are planning to vote against it.