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Taoiseach & political party leaders to discuss the future of Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe

The fallout from the "golfgate" dinner continues

Political party leaders will meet this afternoon to discuss the future of Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is seeking consensus in how to approach the stand-off within the highest court in the land.

The controversy over Seamus Woulfe’s attendance at the Golfgate dinner in Clifden has progressed all it can within the limited conflict resolution structures available to members of the judiciary.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke has made it clear in an unprecedented move that he feels Justice Seamus Woulfe should resign.

Mr Woulfe has refused to do that, offering to accept an effective three month suspension without pay and to work for free at High Court level along with a public apology instead.

And so the matter has been kicked to the Oireachtas which has the power to impeach a judge in cases of ‘stated misbehaviour’.

Unfortunately for politicians that’s an ill-defined term and it’s not clear that it applies here, given Mr Justice Woulfe broke no laws.

The Taoiseach has convened a meeting of political party leaders for this afternoon.

Some want to see the government push an impeachment motion and to have hearings before an all-party committee, with Solidarity/People Before Profit threatening to start that process if Micheál Martin won’t.

Others don’t think there’s insufficient grounds for impeachment hearings, and while it was a lapse of judgement by Seamus Woulfe their hands are tied.

It’s doubtful a clear consensus will emerge, and all parties are proceeding with extreme caution.