TDs Paul Murphy, Bríd Smith, Gino Kenny and Richard Boyd Barrett have tabled a Dáil motion seeking to have Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe removed as a Supreme Court judge for stated misbehaviour.
The motion is due to appear on the order paper on Tuesday and the TDs will push to have the motion voted on next week.
Reacting to the news that the motion is now formally tabled, Bríd Smith TD said: “We believe that from Tuesday next week this motion must be voted on within 5 days, we will be appealing to opposition and other deputies to support this and do the job that the constitution says they should in cases like this.”
Paul Murphy TD said: “The judge’s actions originally and then his reactions to questions reached the benchmark for stated misbehaviour in our view. They were an insult to the suffering and hardship that millions of ordinary people endured in abiding by the public health guidelines during the Covid crisis.”
Fógra Tairisceana: Notice of Motion
“That Dáil Éireann, pursuant to Standing Order 77:
- on 19th August, 2020, Mr. Justice Séamus Woulfe attended a dinner organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society in Clifden, Co. Galway;
- public health regulations in force at that time made it an offence to organise an indoor social event where the numbers attending exceeded 50 persons (other than in a private dwelling);
- the dinner at Clifden had around 80 attendees, significantly in excess of the 50 persons permitted;
- the Government had announced new guidelines on 18th August, 2020, which restricted the numbers permitted at an indoor social event to six persons;
- while these new guidelines did not immediately have the force of law, they did reflect the urgent advice of public health experts in the context of a highly contagious disease;
- Justice Woulfe’s attendance at an event which was inconsonant with both the public health regulations in force and those which had been publicly announced the day previously, had the effect of undermining the public health effort, which all in society were being urged to participate in, given the grave threat of the spread of Covid-19; and
- Justice Woulfe’s subsequent response to the public controversy in relation to his attendance at this dinner, as illustrated by the transcript of his interview with Ms. Justice Susan Denham and his correspondence with Mr. Justice Frank Clarke, further undermined the public health effort; and
calls for the removal, pursuant to Article 35.4.1° of the Constitution of Ireland, of Mr. Justice Séamus Woulfe, Judge of the Supreme Court, from office for stated misbehaviour, being his conduct in and in relation to attending the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden on 19th August, 2020, undermining the public health effort during a pandemic, and thereby rendering himself unsuitable to exercise the office of a Judge of the Supreme Court.” — Paul Murphy, Bríd Smith, Richard Boyd Barrett, Gino Kenny.
[26 November, 2020]