Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has called on the Taoiseach to intervene in the escalating row between Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the Irish Judiciary, in order to avoid a full scale constitutional crisis emerging.
Deputy Martin commented, “This evening we are witnessing an unprecedented breakdown in the relationship between the Irish Judiciary and the Irish Government. In his recent speech, reported in weekend media, Justice Peter Kelly sent a clear signal of how serious the situation has become and opened a door to meaningful consultation with Government to discuss those concerns.
“Today, in characteristically dismissive fashion, the Justice Minister slammed that door in the Judiciary’s face with an ill judged and intemperate media intervention. Instead of listening to the concern that Judge Kelly was expressing on behalf of his colleagues, the Minister launched an attack on judges’ pay, and sought to silence the judge on the basis that his comments could harm Ireland’s international standing.
“The Minister is apparently heedless of the fact that a Justice and Defence Minister attacking his country’s independent judiciary is likely to have a much more negative impact on the opinion of those who monitor such dynamics.
“Minister Shatter has poisoned this relationship and the country requires urgent political leadership to avoid a much greater crisis emerging. Tonight I am calling on the Taoiseach to personally intervene in the dispute and make it clear to Minister Shatter that his behaviour is inappropriate.
“The Taoiseach also needs to reach out to the judiciary in an effort to rebuild trust and seek to undo the damage caused by his Justice Minister.”