How did Seamus Woulfe jump to the ‘top of the class’ to get a Supreme Court position?
He was never even a Judge before he was appointed to the Supreme Court..
He was introduced to Leo Varadkar by Richard Bruton, for whom Seamus Woulfe had acted as Fine Gael branch secretary and election agent in the past.
Leo Varadkar appointed Woulfe as Attorney General in 2017.
When the government formation talks happened in 2020, a new attorney General Paul Gallagher was appointed.
But within just 3 weeks, Seamus Woulfe had been appointed to the Supreme Court. He was nominated by a Fine Gael Minister and his appointment was recommended by the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board. Among its members were Judge Frank Clarke, a former Fine Gael Senate candidate in the 1980s and George Birmingham, a former Fine Gael Junior Minister.
It has now emerged that a number of senior judges wrote to the Government to express interest in the Supreme Court vacancy, but the Cabinet was not told of their applications before he was selected in July.
Now the government is refusing to answer questions about this in the Dail, citing a very weak ‘’separation of powers’’ argument as their defence.
But this has been contradicted by legal experts who say that answering questions in the Dáil on Judicial appointments would not undermine the separation of powers or judicial independence.
David Kenny, Assistant Professor of Law at Trinity College said ‘’appointment of judges is a government function and is accountable to the legislature’’.
The government needs to answer questions immediately about the appointment of Woulfe.