Flanagan tries to assert authority as another row breaks out over judicial appointments



Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan told Cabinet colleagues that he should have the authority to propose appointments of judges during a row which broke out yesterday, The Irish Times reports.

According to reports, a heated argument broke out over the appointment of Mr Justice George Birmingham as president of the Court of Appeal at a meeting with Independent Alliance ministers.

Mr Flanagan, along with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Attorney General Séamus Woulfe, yesterday met with Transport Minister Shane Ross and Minister of State Finian McGrath.

Mr Ross and Mr McGrath insisted that the Independent Alliance would not agree to any further judicial appointments at Cabinet level.

But Mr Flanagan told the pair that, as justice minister, he should have the authority to propose appointment of judges and there could be no veto of judicial appointments by Independent Alliance ministers.

He denies claims that he threatened to resign.

The Taoiseach gave the Independent Alliance a “cast iron” guarantee that the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill would reach the Dáil by early May and pass the Seanad by the summer.

Senior judges have previously warned the Government that halting appointments until the system is reformed would be “disastrous”.