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13.17 19 Nov 2020


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The Tánaiste has defended Minister Helen McEntee saying she acted completely appropriately in appointing Seamus Woulfe to the Supreme Court.

The Government has been under pressure to explain why the former Attorney General was promoted ahead of sitting judges with an interest in the job.

The opposition is still baying for Justice Minister Helen McEntee to be brought before the Dáil to explain the appointment of Seamus Woulfe.

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Their questions centre around other judges who had an interest in the role and how seriously they were considered.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty wondering why Mr Justice Woulfe, with no judicial experience, got the job ahead of those judges.

He said: "There were three other applications from existing judges, they were presumably well qualified and experienced

However, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has stood over and defended the process.

But he also said he did not know who from the judiciary was also interested in the role.

He added: "There's a list of people who've expressed an interest in being promoted and there's a third list of people who are eligible for promotion.

"So I knew those lists existed but I didn't know how many people were on them or their individual names."

Earlier this week, the Taoiseach was accused of "running scared" by refusing opposition demands for Minister McEntee to answer questions in the Dáil.

Opposition parties have raised questions about why Taoiseach Micheál Martin wasn't told there were other applicants for the job when Mr Justice Woulfe was made a Supreme Court judge.

Speaking today, Labour leader Alan Kelly said that Mr Varadkar's explanation is not good enough, and while Seamus Woulfe came through a judicial appointments process, JAABs view isn't final.

He said: "That is also bogus, bogus, bogus, bogus, bogus."

Leo Varadkar challenged the opposition to use their members time in the Dail next week for a debate on the issue.

Reporting by Seán Defoe

Main image: Leo Varadkar and Helen McEntee. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Alan Kelly Attorney General Helen McEntee Leo Varadkar Pearse Doherty Seamus Woulfe Supreme Court

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