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Bill to change how judges are appointed before cabinet today

Justice Minister Helen McEntee will present it later

A bill to change the way judges are appointed will be brought to cabinet today by Justice Minister Helen McEntee.

It includes some major changes from what former minister Shane Ross failed to bring through the Oireachtas last year.

The new Judicial Appointments Bill would set up a new Commission which would consider applications from both sitting judges for promotion, and from applicants who are not on the bench.

Selection procedures including the required skills, attributes, and criteria would be published, and the Commission could carry out interviews of candidates.

It’s proposed the Commission be chaired by the Chief Justice, with four lay members and four sitting judges, along with the Attorney General as a non-voting member.

It’s understood the panel would recommend a name to the Justice Minister for appointment as a judge which would then be considered by the cabinet.

The reforms come after considerable controversy about the way in which Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe was appointed and questions about the transparency of the process and political involvement in it.