McEntee contradicts Dáil statement – needs to fully explain contradictions in timeline and process

17 December 2020

Following Leaders Questions in the Dáil where the Tánaiste avoided answering questions on the latest Woulfe process revelations Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly said that there are contradictions in the statements from the Minister and that the timelines don’t add up.

Deputy Kelly said:

“What is clear from the statements by the Minister for Justice in the Dáil three weeks ago and today in response to the revelations in the documents released to me and others is that the Minister was prepared, and willing to go against the Cabinet handbook and make an appointment to the Supreme Court on July 6th.

“However the Minister has claimed all along she honoured the cabinet handbook but how could she have put up a memo on July 6th if she hadn’t consulted with any of the party leaders.

“A memo to appoint a Supreme Court Justice was prepared, approved by the Minister, but pulled at the last minute from the Cabinet Agenda. Department of Justice emails show that they were very clear that ‘we were not the blockage’.

“This clearly shows the Minister was appointing now Justice Woulfe de facto without consultation but is also now claiming she only saw the other five judges names that day.

“Based on her comments today the Minister needs to explain why her Department did not tell her of the other five names that had applied for the position considering she had already signed off on the memo for government, if that is her explanation?

“What the records show is that she was willing to go to Cabinet with one name, Woulfe, having come through the JAAB, without seeing the others. Based on the timelines she gave the Dáil at this point she hadn’t consulted any of the party leaders.

“What the Minister also needs to fully explain now is why the memo was pulled and on whose orders. Her explanation doesn’t add up and is full of contradictions based on her statements in the Dáil and the records that have been published.

“What is clearly described in the documents released last night is that a memo for the appointment of a Supreme Court Judge was drawn up at 7.54am on the morning of the Cabinet Meeting on 6th July. It was sent to the Minister for review at 9.34am. A speaking note was prepared, and the memo was verbally approved by the Minister for Cabinet. Department officials contacted the Department of Taoiseach to let them know this was happening. A little while later that morning it was pulled from the Agenda.”

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