Among the measures proposed are a requirement for all candidates for judicial positions to be interviewed and to show that they have undergone judicial training or continuous professional development.
If the proposed legislation is enacted it will mean that only three people will be recommended by the Judicial Appointments Commission for each position and that only people recommended by the commission can be recommended by the Government for appointment as a judge.
All candidates will have to be interviewed by the judicial appointments commission including serving judges seeking promotion to a higher court.
The commission will also have to publish a diversity statement committing to reflecting the diversity of the population as a whole in the make up of the judiciary.
Fine Gael Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris and Fine Gael Minister for Justice Helen McEntee arrive for a cabinet meeting. Both are front-runners to replace Leo Varadkar among Fine Gael members in a poll conducted by the Irish Examiner.
Minister McEntee said that the creation of 72 new family refuge spaces for victims of domestic abuse and ten replacement places in ten locations across the country will be “prioritised”.
The areas are: Sligo (eight family places), Cavan/Monaghan (eight family places), Cork city (12 family places – six new, six replacement), North Cork (five family places), West Cork (five family places), Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown (10 family places), Westmeath (eight family places – four new, four replacements), Portlaoise (eight family places), Balbriggan (10 family places), and Longford (eight family places).
Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns (above) launched a Bill that would extend maternity, adoptive and paternity leave to councillors.
Ms Cairns said:
“Just 24pc of councillors around the country are women. If we ever want to substantially increase this proportion, then we must make changes to make a career in politics a more attractive prospect for women. The bare minimum required, in this regard, is maternity leave.
“My Bill, which I have launched today, would extend maternity, adoptive and paternity leave to councillors.
“Many political careers are launched in the local politics arena – but the lack of maternity leave acts as a limiting factor for women and a barrier to their participation in public life. It also denies the country of the representation of strong female political candidates, many of whom feel unable to progress a career in politics because of structural barriers that are placed in their way.
“Currently, female councillors must obtain a resolution of a local authority in order to avail of leave when they give birth. In 2021, it is bizarre that a reformed system of maternity leave, and other family leave, is not yet available to councillors. My Bill would ensure that leave is an entitlement – which does not require a resolution to be passed.”
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, about to speak to reporters the General Scheme of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill – a remaining task before she begins six months of maternity leave tomorrow.
I was recently tested and have received a positive result for #Covid19. In line with our HSE guidance I am isolating. I am continuing to carry out my duties by working remotely including attending Cabinet.
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, outside Government Buildings today as she published the findings of the hate crime public consultation, which was carried out by the Department of Justice
Leinster House, Dublin 2.
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee launched consultation document Legislating for Hate Speech and Hate Crime in Ireland Report. A new law will cover both incitement to hatred and hate crime
‘…The new hate crime offences will be aggravated versions of existing crimes, for example offences against the person, criminal damage or public order offences, where they are carried out because of prejudice against a protected characteristic.
Creating these new offences will mean that a crime can be investigated as a potential hate crime by Gardaí, and evidence of the hate element can be presented in court.
Where the jury finds that the crime was a hate crime based on the evidence, and convicts the person of a hate crime, the enhanced penalty for the new offence will available to the judge at sentencing. Where the jury finds that the hate element is not proven, they will still be able to convict the person of the ordinary form of the offence…’
Minister McEntee said:
“Regarding the fundamental constitutional right of freedom of expression, I want to assure people that this legislation will be proportionate, specific, and clear, with offences capable of being proven beyond reasonable doubt. There will be no confusion as to what constitutes criminal hate speech.”
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is addressing the appointment of Séamus Woulfe as a Supreme Court justice.
She said that a draft memo was submitted to her office by the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB) in July with expressions of interests from serving judges.
The minister said the practice in relation to appointments is that only one judge’s name is brought to Cabinet by the Minister for Justice and she said that this practice is important in relation to judicial appointments.
She said an open debate would amount to a “complete politicisation” of the judicial appointments process.
She said it was the duty of the Minister for Justice to propose to Cabinet the best person for the particular judicial vacancy, and the Government then decides and she said that this is what happened in this case.
SF’s Martin Kenny is first to respond. “What any reasonable person would have expected you to do today is to come before the Dáil and explain how those four names were whittled down to one, but you haven’t done that… you didn’t tell the Taoiseach there were other applicants.”