A third of the 12 new judges nominated by Government last night have strong links to Fine Gael -- with one a party councillor and another the sister of a councillor.
And yet another gave a rousing speech at a homecoming party thrown last year for a freshly appointed Fine Gael minister.The Irish Independent
reported this morning that the Cabinet yesterday nominated seven people for President Michael D Higgins to appoint to the Circuit Court, and five to the District Court. Of the 12, four have strong ties to the senior coalition party.
The latest nominations follow on from a raft of judicial appointments with political connections made by Fine Gael and Labour last year.Councillor
The nominations include:Pauline Codd
, a sister of Cathleen Codd-Nolan, a Fine Gael councillor from Wexford, to the Circuit Court.Keenan Johnson
, a prominent supporter of Small Business Minister John Perry, is also being given a Circuit Court position. Last March, 'Sligo Today' reported on a homecoming in Mr Perry's hometown of Ballymote, Co Sligo, after his appointment to ministerial office. The report read: "Renowned solicitor and stalwart supporter Keenan Johnson related and praised Mr Perry's rise through his political career."Solicitor Alan Mitchell
-- a Fine Gael councillor for both Longford town and county councils for years -- will go to the District Court.Kevin Staunton
is a prominent party supporter and is active in Fine Gael circles in Wicklow. He also goes to the District Court.
Also nominated to the District Court were Michael Walsh, and Eugene O'Kelly, a Co Clare solicitor who defended 'Lying Eyes' Sharon Collins in her infamous trial four years ago.Court
Other nominations are Sarah Berkeley, Barry Hickson, Mary Ellen Ring and Carmel Stewart and District Court Judge David Riordan, who will become Circuit Court judges.
Finglas-based solicitor Marie Quirke will also go to the District Court.
Last year, a former Fine Gael senator and four-time running mate of Mr Kenny was appointed to the District Court.
Patrick Durcan, also a Fine Gael strategist in Mr Kenny's native Mayo and a party trustee, was appointed to Fine Gael's board of directors by Mr Kenny a year after he became leader.
The vacancies filled yesterday arose because of retirements, deaths and promotions.