Alliance to mull future of Judicial Appointments Bill

The Independent Alliance meets today to discuss the Judicial Appointments Bill, which shows little hope of passing ahead of the Dáil summer recess.

The controversial legislation would see a lay-majority panel chaired by a lay person recommend judges for appointment.

Strongly pushed by Transport Minister Shane Ross, it was discussed over three days last week, but the debate was adjourned after it ran out of speaking time.

Many Fianna Fáil members firmly opposed to the reforms took the opportunity to speak on the bill, which meant the debate did not conclude in the allotted time.

It will come before the Dáil today and tomorrow during the time initially scheduled for discussion of the Planning and Development and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, which was dropped after an error was discovered.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen criticised the Government over its handling of a “legislative blunder” discovered in the bill. He said the error could delay the construction of hundreds of new homes.

“Earlier this year, Fianna Fáil highlighted serious concerns regarding a legislative error which was contained in the Planning Act,” he said.

“This legislation was rammed through the Dáil by the Government just days before Christmas and it has now been confirmed by the Department there is a serious flaw in the legislation.

The error means that planning permission for many housing developments that are currently under construction cannot be extended.

“The Government’s decision to give virtually all the Dáil time to Minister Ross’s vanity bill displays a stunning disregard for everyone affected by the housing crisis.”

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