Judicial appointments - A line crossed

Over recent years judges have shown that they sometimes confuse the independence from the Oireachtas they are entrusted with to something like a sanctified separation from the world they live in.

It is as if they, or at least some of them, imagine this protection from political interference is also an insulation from prevailing conditions in society.

This hubris, built up when deference was once everyday and expected, reached a peak when judges threatened a strike over pay cuts imposed on everyone during the darkest days of the recession.

“Not us,” they cried, “we’re different!” Indeed they are, a difference underlined almost every day by incomprehensible rulings, especially in compensation cases.

In recent days two judges criticised the Government over proposals around how judges are appointed.

Those remarks drew the mildest but clearest of rebukes from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Hopefully, that was the first indication of a steeliness hidden in the velvet.

The primacy of parliament must be protected, something both judges knew well before they entered this highly politicised debate. Well done Taoiseach.


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