Shane Ross: Bill to reform the appointment of judges 'not radical enough'

Update 11:22am: Independent minister Shane Ross has said the government's bill to reform the appointment of judges 'is not radical enough' but the Transport Minister has said the contentious bill is a valid first step in cleaning up the current process.

He said if the public trusts ordinary citizens to act in a jury, it should have no problem with ordinary people nominating judges.

Earlier: Concern has been raised that the new system for nominating judges could result in the courts becoming a battleground on abortion.

Fianna Fáil says judges could be chosen on the basis of their own leanings, if they are nominated by lay people with the same positions.

The concern was raised by Jim O'Callaghan during the Dáil debate on judicial appointments, which resumes this morning.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan
Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan

He says giving the power of nomination to lay people, could easily mean those lay people will nominate people of similar minds.

"We know we have people in this country who have agendas in respect of whether they are members of the pro-life lobby or pro-choice lobby.

"All of these arguments are going to have the effect that individuals with political agendas will apply and in my opinion will be able to get onto this judicial appointments commission," he said.

The debate will continue in the Dáil today.


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