Newstalk
Newstalk

16.26 26 Nov 2020


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The Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said Leo Varadkar "gave a view" that Seamus Woulfe would make a good judge in the build up to his appointment to the Supreme Court.

She faced questions in the Dáil on the issue on Thursday afternoon.

The Government has been accused of cronyism in appointing Mr Justice Woulfe, a former Fine Gael Attorney-General, to the Supreme Court while sitting judges were also interested in the job.

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Earlier Minister McEntee said she stood over the process.

"This Government has acted appropriately at all times through the current process, which we stand over, having adhered to the process and to the law.

"But this Government has never believed that the judicial appointments process currently in place is as good as it should be.

"And that is why we built into our Programme for Government that we would bring new legislation to reform the process very quickly".

She also revealed that Mr Varadkar told her that Mr Justice Woulfe would 'be a good judge'.

She said Mr Varadkar made the remark when they initially discussed the vacancy on the court.

She said she then applied her own criteria when considering Mr Woulfe and five other sitting judges to decide who should get the job.

Minister McEntee said there are no existing criteria for judicial appointments within the Department of Justice.

And she said there was a discussion between her and the Tánaiste about the process before she presented a name to Cabinet.

"I did have a conversation informally with my colleague and with the Tánaiste.

"He informed me himself that there was a vacancy that Seamus Woulfe had come through that process - I informed him that I was already aware of that.

"He also informed me - or, I suppose, gave a view - that he thought Seamus Woulfe would be a good judge.

"I did not make a decision then, because at that stage I did not have all of the other names".

Main image: Helen McEntee with Leo Varadkar before meeting European Commission Chief Negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, at Government Buildings Dublin in January 2020. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Attorney General Dail Helen McEntee Justice MInister Helen McEntee Seamus Woulfe Supreme Court

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