Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice & Equality Jim O’Callaghan TD has called on the government to appoint judges to the Court of Appeal immediately. Yesterday, the President of the Court of Appeal stated that there are waiting times of at least 20 months for appeal hearings in the Court; that this will get worse and that more hearing dates for appeals will be cancelled unless new judges are appointed urgently.

Deputy O’Callaghan raised the issue with the Minister for Justice yesterday and called on him to do his job and appoint judges to the Court of Appeal. He said the reason there are delays in the system is because the government is refusing to nominate people for appointment.

Speaking today he commented, “When government fails to appoint judges the people who suffer are the citizens who are entitled to have their cases heard, and the victims of crime who are entitled to see prosecutions concluded. We know from yesterday‘s comments by the President of the Court of Appeal that citizens cannot get their appeals heard and are having hearings cancelled because of the absence of judges.

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that when judges retire they are promptly replaced. Two judges have retired from the Court of Appeal and no replacements have been appointed.

“Unfortunately, Minister Flanagan and the government have allowed all aspects of their policy on the Judiciary to be hijacked by the Minister for Transport. For too long the government has allowed Minister Ross to dictate policy in respect of the future appointment of judges. This deferential attitude of the government to Minister Ross is not only delaying our justice system, it is damaging its efficiency.

“If Minister Ross continues to block the government from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to appoint judges then the Taoiseach should stand up to his Transport Minister and insist that judges are appointed immediately”, concluded Deputy O’Callaghan.