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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Attorney General's comments 'utterly out of order', say Social Democrats

The Social Democrats have said the Attorney General was “utterly out of order” making public comments about legislation to appoint judges as well as a live Supreme Court case.

Seamus Woulfe's comments that the Judicial Appointments Bill was a “dog's dinner” and “unconstitutional” were “unprecedented” and also raise issues about his “capability”, said co-leader Roisín Shortall.

“We believe it was completely out of order to make comments from the sidelines in relation to that.

“His role is to provide legal advice to the Government, not to make public comment on the role of the Oireachtas.”

The AG last week told a lunch event that Transport Minister Shane Ross’s controversial Bill to overhaul the appointment of judges is a “dog’s dinner” and needs significant work if it is to be viable.

Ms Shortall said the remarks were particularly an issue as one amendment in the Bill proposes removing the role of the AG in helping decide who to appoint.

The Social Democrats also criticised reported comments by the AG at the journalists lunch last week, where it was reported that he said he expects the Supreme Court will not rule in favour of Angela Kerins, the former Rehab Group chief, in her case against the Dail's public accounts committee (PAC).

“The other concern and it is probably a more serious concern are his prediction of the likely outcome about the Kerins case,” said Ms Shortall.

[quote]“We believe he was utterly out of order in making those comments. As the senior law officer of the state, he shouldn't be commenting on cases that are before the courts.”[/quote]

She said the AG was a notice party in relation to the case, which made it “doubly inappropriate” and unacceptable that he commented on that.

Ms Shortall called on the Taoiseach to clarify his views on the AG's remarks and whether he finds them “acceptable or appropriate”.

- Irish Examiner