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Flanagan says judicial bill 'in a difficult place' but he wouldn't use Attorney General's colourful language

Seamus Wolfe described it as “a dog’s dinner”.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE MINISTER FOR Justice Charlie Flanagan said he wouldn’t have used the ‘colourful language’ that the Attorney General used to describe the Judicial Appointments Bill.

On Friday, Seamus Wolfe said that some amendments to the bill were contradictory, inconsistent and unconstitutional and described it as “a dog’s dinner”.

Fianna Fáil called on the government to scrap the bill after the speech but speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, Flanagan said he doesn’t accept that the bill now needs to be scrapped or thrown out and restarted.

Flanagan said he would describe it as a case of “too many cooks have somewhat spoiled the broth here”, adding that the bill is “in a rather difficult place”.

Seamus Wolfe referred specifically to an amendment to remove the Attorney General from the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Flanagan said he believes the Attorney General has been a key member of the process to date and that they should continue to be a member of the new process.

It’s not the first time that the legislation, which was proposed by Transport Minister Shane Ross, has come in for criticism from senior legal figures.

Minister Flanagan said that while he accepts that the removal of the Attorney General is a priority for Shane Ross but he doesn’t believe that it makes sense and he doesn’t accept the AG’s involvement in judicial appointments would present a conflict of interest.

He said the difficulties with the bill can be resolved but it cannot be done without “due and careful consideration”.

‘No truck with Putin’

Speaking on the same program Minister of State John Halligan said he fully supports the bill and that he thinks it will be passed.

He said the Government is committed to working with other parties in the Dáil to ensure that the legislation makes it onto the statute book.

I trust the Taoiseach, I think he’s straight forward and honest, that this bill will be supported by Fine Gael…it will require support by Independents and other parties, it won’t be supported by Fianna Fáil. I think it’ll get through one way or another.

Speaking about the dismissal of Russian diplomats from Ireland, Halligan told Sean O’Rourke that he has ‘no truck with Vladimir Putin’ and recent elections in Russia were fundamentally flawed.

However he added that he could not understand why Ireland, a neutral country, was considering sanctions against Russia, because Russia has not made an attack on the Irish state.

Halligan said the attacks in Salisbury were appalling but there was no clear evidence that it had been carried out by Russia.

“We’re a neutral country, we should at least certainly speak to the Russians… I don’t think we should be standing up to the plate right now.”

Read: Call to scrap Ross’s judge selection bill after Attorney General slams it as ‘dog’s dinner’>

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