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The Social Democrats today invoked a little used Dáil procedure to seek urgent answers from the Taoiseach about the hasty approval of the former Attorney General to the Court of Appeal.

In a Special Notice Question submitted today, the party’s TDS Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall are asking the Taoiseach to publish any correspondence between himself and President Higgins on Sunday.

The party also seeks answers from the Taoiseach about whether the appointment to the Court of Appeal now means that the former AG Máire Whelan will be excluded from participating in any Tribunal of Inquiry or Commission of Investigations, specifically the Charleton Inquiry.

Party co-leader Catherine Murphy TD said:

“The Taoiseach needs to provide answers and explain why he rushed with undue haste at the weekend and has drawn the President into a political controversy that stinks to high heaven.”

Her colleague and party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD added:

“This is a very tawdry and grubby affair and a breach of the normal protocol. It’s not an acceptable start – and it’s a very dangerous start for the Taoiseach to be getting off to. There are a lot of outstanding questions particularly in relation to the role of the previous Minister for Justice. What happened to the expressions of interest from the three High Court judges who reportedly applied for this job? Were they given consideration or were they binned?”

Special Notice Questions can be used to seek information on an important matter of public interest which requires urgent consideration.

In the question submitted today, the party’s TDs also want to know if the Taoiseach has considered how the hasty appointment has effectively removed Ms Whelan from scrutiny regarding her suitability for the position; if Minister Frances Fitzgerald has outlined the process to him regarding her decision to choose Ms Whelan above other candidates; and if he is aware of concerns regarding the limitations of Judicial Appointments Advisory Board regarding applications from sitting judges.


20 June 2017

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