Seanad debates

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)


10:30 am

Photo of David NorrisDavid Norris (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I am coming to a conclusion, if the Minister would stop interrupting me.He is certainly not helping the progress of this Bill in the way he is behaving. He can interrupt me as much as he likes. I do not give a damn. The longer this goes on the better as far as I am concerned, but I am being economic in what I am saying. I will repeat what I said for the Minister's education. The purpose of this amendment is clear and obvious, namely, to give the Government some control in this regard. It is an absolutely essential check and balance over the commission to ensure that the Government does not completely outsource and lose control over its constitutional function to recommend judicial nominees to the President. What could be clearer and more directly relevant to this amendment? The Minister was talking nonsense when he said it was irrelevant. It is a constitutional duty of every Government and every Minister to make major decisions that have lasting impacts on citizens' lives. Shirking those decisions, or outsourcing them, to unelected lay persons appointed by civil servants represents a gross dereliction of that duty.

By the way, I very rarely read from a briefing. It is not up to the Minister to point out that I was reading and that was because I had gone to the trouble of getting a brief on this matter. It is highly technical. Deputy McDowell is delayed in the High Court and cannot be there. I am speaking to his amendment and I need a brief to deal adequately with these matters. I make no apology whatever about it. I raised a question about Members reading in the Seanad because it used to be something that was forbidden, prohibited or discouraged but I was told that is the case and they could read whatever the hell the like.


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