Opposition TDs have rejected Justice Minister Helen McEntee offer to take parliamentary questions in the Dáil on the appointment of Fine Gael supporting Attorney General Seamus Woulfe to the Supreme Court.
s McEntee has written to the Dáil’s Business Committee seeking to reschedule ministerial question she was due to take in December to a time suiting TDs who wish to question her on the controversy.
The request comes after the Taoiseach and Tánaiste insisted for two weeks that she should not be questioned on the appointment of Justice Woufle.
However, Labour Party leader Alan Kelly said the offer is “laughable”. “This is a completely spurious suggestion from the Minister and changes nothing,” he said. “She has no choice but to answer her normal parliamentary questions. She must still come before the Dáil next week and take specific questions on the Supreme Court appointment process,” he added.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald rejected the offer saying “nothing short” of a statement from the minister followed by questions from the TDS will “suffice” . Ms McDonald said accused the Government of “circling the wagons” and said their “grave concern is a self serving desire to avoid accountability”
In her letter to the Dáil Business Committee, Ms McEntee said as Minister for Justice it is her “duty to respect the independence of the judiciary, a cornerstone of our State and system of government”
“I and the Government have grave concerns that the manner of Dáil debate being proposed by the Opposition on judicial appointments could generate inappropriate comment around serving judges on the floor of the House,” she said.
“The concerns as outlined by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste this week are shared across Government,” she added.
However, Ms McEntee said she is also conscious of her responsibility to be accountable to the Dáil.
“Deputies can table parliamentary questions and oral questions to me and Government colleagues on numerous issues.
“I would ask the business committee to reschedule my next session of oral ministerial questions, currently due to take place on December 15, to a date that meets the satisfaction of members.
“The process of oral questions will ensure that members can raise concerns across numerous issues within the parameters of normal parliamentary procedures,” she added.
Source: Irish News