Law Society President Michele O’Boyle has criticised comments made by People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith about a High Court judge, describing them as “shocking, unwarranted and dangerous”.
Deputy Smith’s remarks were aimed at Mr Justice Garrett Simons, and followed his ruling that a sectoral employment order covering electricians, made by Business Minister Heather Humphreys, was unconstitutional.
“It is entirely appropriate for a politician to disagree with a judge’s decision,” Ms O’Boyle said. “They have a remedy which is to appeal the decision or seek a change in the law.
“It is not appropriate, however, for a politician to launch a personalised attack on the impartiality or the integrity of a judge,” she continued.
“Such an attack risks undermining the necessary mutual respect between branches of Government required by the Constitution. It threatens respect for the law and even the rule of law which protects all of us.”
The president said there was a “fine tradition” in Ireland of displaying respect for the judiciary, even when there was disagreement on individual judgments.
“It is in everyone’s interest that this tradition of respect should continue,” she said. “It is in no one’s interest, neither judges, politicians nor the public as a whole, that this tradition should be departed from under any circumstances.”