Statement by An Taoiseach

Before Leaders' Questions, I understand the Taoiseach has a brief announcement for the information of the House.

On behalf of the Government, I want to issue the following statement. The independence and the integrity of the Judiciary is of paramount importance. The Judiciary has played a vital role in supporting the democratic and constitutional traditions of the State since its foundation and has ensured respect for the rule of law which underpins those traditions. The Government notes the informal process, which was both transparent and comprehensive, conducted by the Judiciary to address the legitimate concerns arising from Mr. Justice Woulfe's attendance at the Oireachtas golf dinner in Clifden. The Government fully supports the Supreme Court and recognises the importance of protecting its collegiate nature and its concern to maintain the highest standards. The Government notes the important distinction between a resignation and the deliberately high constitutional standard of removal for stated misbehaviour. After very careful consideration, and having listened to the Opposition leaders on this matter, the Government believes the constitutional protection of the Judiciary is best achieved in this particular case by taking no further steps in this matter.