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Bríd Smith must apologise for her ultra-populist attack on Judge & state her support for the Judiciary – Carroll MacNeill

25th June 2020 - Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

A Fine Gael TD has called on Bríd Smith to apologise for her attack on an Irish High Court judge.

Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said, “Our constitutional politics has stood the tests of several decades, including through the darkest days of the existential challenges to the state from dissidents, only because of the mutual respect for the legislature and judiciary.

“The simple rule is that elected representatives should never comment on the decisions of judges in individual cases, sentences in individual cases or the organisation and management of the administration of justice. Similarly, judges don’t comment on the law-making process which is the preserve of the Oireachtas.

“This unacceptable attack by an elected member of Dáil Éireann undermines the protection of the judiciary, who in turn protect minorities, the rule of law and the stability of our political and legal system.

“The ultra-populist tone seems now already sadly well established in our political discourse, including the Trumpian practice of marshalling armies of social media supporters to amplify and intensify attacks on public representatives or anyone on the other side of a falsely created ‘us and them’.

“Deputy Bríd Smith’s attack is a new ultra-low in the race to the bottom of this ultra-populism.

“We have seen where this approach goes in the past. We see it today in the disintegration of established democracies in the US and the UK, we see our judicial counterparts in Poland under sustained attack with the concomitant impact on the protection of minorities.

“When the independence of the judiciary is gone, we can forget about our constitutional democracy.

“I am calling on Deputy Smith to immediately withdraw her remark, apologise and publicly state her support for the protection of our independent judiciary and the separation of powers. Nothing less is acceptable,” Deputy Carroll MacNeill said.

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