8 former AGs oppose referendum proposal

EIGHT former Irish attorneys general have voiced collectively their strong opposition to the Government’s proposal to amend the Constitution to give the Oireachtas special powers of investigation.

The former AGs also object to the manner in which judicial pay is to be cut, while agreeing with the reduction in principle.

The proposals will be put to a referendum on Thursday, the day of the presidential election, and indications are that both measures will be passed.

According to a letter, the former AGs say that extending the powers of the Oireachtas in this manner will hit civil liberties.

“The proposal in relation to Oireachtas enquiries seriously weakens the rights of individual citizens, firstly to protect their good names, and secondly to have disputes between themselves and the Oireachtas concerning their constitutional rights (especially their rights to fair procedures) decided by an independent judiciary,” states the letter.

“The proposal to allow proportionate reductions in judicial remuneration (which we support in principle) provides insufficient protection for the independence of the judiciary.” The letter is signed by Patrick Connolly, Peter Sutherland, John Rogers, Dermot Gleeson, Harold Whelehan, David Byrne, Michael McDowell and Paul Gallagher.

Three other former AGs did not sign the letter, among them former Chief Justice John L Murray. Earlier this year, Mr Justice Murray sparked controversy when he criticised the manner in which the pay of judges was to be reduced.


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