Dáil debates

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Courts and Court Officers (Amendment) Bill 2007: Second Stage (Resumed)


9:00 pm

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)

It is perfectly open to Opposition Members to express their views on the adequacy or otherwise of sentencing. They do so frequently and Deputy Gregory probably does so as often as a clock strikes. Equally however, it is also open to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, if he or she thinks that sentencing policy in any area is mistaken, to say so in public. I do not accept the proposition argued in the House that there are ways in which I could convey this in private. In other words, I could telephone the president of a court to suggest I thought he or she was treating burglaries lightly in his or her court. I would not do such a thing and would not be tempted to so do. As a former Attorney General, I have never heard of anyone communicating policy views to the Judiciary through some kind of back channel, in which a Minister could suggest the Judiciary was not doing its job and that he or she wanted X or Y done. It simply does not happen and I do not intend to do it. If I have a view which I want to communicate to the Judiciary, the public should know I communicated that view and should be able to judge what I stated. It is fine if the public does not agree with it. It is not populism.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.