Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The Court of Appeal backlog could take over a decade to clear. That is not my assessment but that of Mr. Seth Barrett Tillman, law lecturer at Maynooth University. I understand - perhaps the Taoiseach will confirm if this has happened - that the Chief Justice and the President of the High Court have approached the Government with a view to having more judges appointed to the Court of Appeal. Either that has happened or it has not.
The Taoiseach did not answer my question. Is it the case that the Independent Alliance has said that no more judges can be appointed until the judicial appointments commission is established? Yes or no. Is that the actual position as we speak? We are being told by the media week after week that the Independent Alliance has frozen any more judicial appointments.
Deputy O'Callaghan will be publishing the legislation that is required today. The Independent Alliance knows all about it because Deputy O'Callaghan, who is quite a learned man in this domain, enlightened its members during the Government formation talks. I suspect that members of the alliance have taken many of Deputy O'Callaghan's lessons on board. We did not think they would take them as enthusiastically on board as they are currently doing, namely, by freezing or paralysing the process relating to the appointment of judges. The legislation to which I refer will can be adopted by the Government. I ask the Taoiseach to answer my question. Is the Independent Alliance saying,"No more new judges" and is the Government acquiescing to that? If that is the case, the situation is dysfunctional.