Justice Minister prepared to answer Dáil questions on Woulfe appointment

ireland
Helen McEntee, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Michael McHugh, PA

Justice Minister Helen McEntee is prepared to answer Dáil questions on Seamus Woulfe as early as Thursday afternoon, the Taoiseach has said.

The Supreme Court judge attended the "Golfgate" event in Clifden, Co Galway, in August when members of the Oireachtas’s golf society gathered for a dinner organised in breach of Covid-19 rules.

He refused to resign over his handling of the incident, despite a call from chief justice Frank Clarke to quit.

Ms McEntee has previously faced questions around the appointment of Mr Justice Woulfe to the country’s highest court.

Micheál Martin told the Dáil: “Minister McEntee is committed to coming into the House to answer questions.”

My responsibility as Taoiseach is to maintain the separation of powers

He added: “Minister McEntee is prepared to come into the House tomorrow afternoon and answer questions on this.

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“My responsibility as Taoiseach is to maintain the separation of powers and retain confidence in our judicial system and legislature.”

The Dáil’s business committee is to meet on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the arrangements for the Minister’s appearance.

Appointment

Ms McEntee has insisted all her actions were completely in line with appropriate procedures.

Ireland
McEntee refusal to answer Woulfe questions 'danger...
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Former attorney general Mr Justice Woulfe’s name was the only one she put forward to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Green Party leader for approval in the summer, only three weeks after being appointed as Minister.

He was proposed to the Minister by the independent Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, which assessed him as being suitable for the job, while the three sitting judges registered their expressions of interest through the attorney general’s office.

Ms McEntee has said she had been involved in six judicial appointment processes since becoming Minister and on some of those occasions she recommended one name to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, and on others she had proposed a number of suitable candidates.

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