Supreme Court Justice Seamus Woulfe

This morning.

Further to Golfgate…


Sinn Féin is planning to table legislation which would introduce a cooling-off period for attorney generals before they could put their name forward for a position on senior courts.

The move follows the on-going controversy over the appointment of Fine Gael-supporting Attorney General Seamus Woulfe to the Supreme Court. Justice Minister Helen McEntee has been under pressure to answer questions on the appointment for three weeks.

However, so far Ms McEntee has refused to give a detailed explanation as to why she chose the long-time Fine Gael supporter for the Supreme Court ahead of three sitting judges. Meanwhile, former Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, who was first told Mr Woulfe applied for the role after the General Election in March, is refusing to comment on his involvement in the controversial appointment.

Attorney generals may have to wait two years before applying for position on Supreme Court under proposed new law (


Minister for Justice Helen McEntee says that she considered all names put before her for a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Ms McEntee, who was speaking on LMFM radio, said that there were “a number of names put before me” but refused to be drawn on the exact number.

She said there was “collective approval” at the Cabinet meeting when she recommended Justice Seamus Woulfe for the Supreme Court.

McEntee considered ‘a number of names’ for Supreme Court vacancy (RTÉ)

A motion to start a process to impeach Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe is the ‘only option’ open to opposition TDs to ensure accountability, RISE TD Paul Murphy says.

Deputy Murphy is bringing forward the motion in the Dáil this week, which – if passed – would allow TDs to begin examining whether Mr Justice Woulfe should be removed or not.

Motion To Impeach Woulfe Is Only Option Open To Us (Newstalk)


8 thoughts on “Cooling Off

  1. curmudgeon

    It’s unfortunate the public perception/deception is that he shouldn’t get the job because of the Golf soiree. A better explanation:

    “No one sees the absurdity of the Government pleading “separation of powers” to avoid accountability for an appointment which was an egregious breach of that principle.

    The Attorney General is the Government’s sole source of legal advice and its legal representative in all actions against the State. So Seamus Woulfe spent three years representing the Government is all cases before the Supreme Court and then, hey presto! , he’s sitting in judgement on the Government from that very bench, the highest in the land!”

    Quoted from CAquas commenting in the IT here:

    1. GiggidyGoo

      The Golfgate was the start. At this stage, it’s not that so much as the contempt he has shown for the country, the judiciary and the politicians. It’s also the fact that there were 3 better qualified and more experienced candidates who didn’t get a look in because the AG – Woulfe – brought the name to Charlie Flanagan. Brought his own name that is.
      There’s a lot more at play here than just Woulfe. It’s the FG old boy’s club. Woulfe is the door to the inner sanctum that has been protected up to now – by FG and FF. A light is being shone on the workings.

  2. GiggidyGoo

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
    Proper Charlie Flanagan keeping schtum – for the moment anyway.
    Himself and Varadkar, and the rest have no qualms in Helen McEntee
    being the one pushed out to take the fall.
    She’s managed to put out versions that can be easily
    questioned. No wonder they’re trying to rig the way the Dail questions are to be put.
    Even FGers cannot trust FGers

  3. Toby

    Fine Gael refusing every opportunity to be open, honest and transparent. Honestly, I thought they were going to bring a new style of Government, but they seem to have learnt the worst from Sinn Fein and FF. The only difference is that SF and FF have a semblance of Irishness about them, whereas I have no idea what planet Fine Gael belong to.

  4. v AKA Frilly Keane

    That proposed Cooling Off Period from SF, will sail through I’d say

    but the cost will be Paul Murphy’s Impeachment attempt
    Politics shur

    In the meantime, look’it
    anyone that ever applies for a State Board or State big ticket
    will recognise the warning The Minister wishes to appoint
    or the The Minister will appoint
    that comes with every advertised vacancy

    And there it is
    The Government Minister of the day
    Anyone who thinks they don’t appoint one of their own
    Every time, is codding themselves

    Any other appointment made outside their own
    is for Political PR purposes
    Make no mistake about it

    1. Cian

      This is all true.

      What are the options:
      1. Minister appoints people to big job, which has the issues you mentioned. But at least the Ministers are directly elected by the people.
      2. Have an “independent” body appoint people. This has similar issues, with the added issue that the people making the decisions aren’t elected. And who selects the selectors? You could end up with nepotism and worse.
      3. Have all these roles elected by the people (the US does something similar-many of the top jobs are direct-elected) but you end up with similar people getting the jobs (they tie themselves to parties and the party wo/man gets the job)

      I think a better approach would be to have better minimum requirements on the jobs. e.g. to be a Supreme Court candidate you need at least x years as a Circuit/High court judge.

      1. V AKA Frilly Keane

        You’ll find that they are already there C!an
        Minimum requirements
        Or Essential requirements
        Ok maybe not for a Supreme Court Judge vacancy
        So yes, I agree there should be a minimum about of time served in the HC or in the Appeals, etc

        But these requirements are definitely stated for State Boards and most of the higher level Public Jobs adverts

        And I can tell you, just from my own experience, that they’re ignored
        Especially where there is a desire for ‘previous board experience’
        plus the required skills at Governance level
        ie. Professional level Financial & Audit, Risk Management, Change Management, Regulated Entities, Compliance etc

        As for Independence

        If I don’t laugh I’d be crying

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