Pressure is mounting on former president of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly who has been caught like a rabbit in the headlights of a car to consider his newly acquired position on Dubai’s International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC). Controversy erupted following the appointment of two of Ireland’s senior judges to senior court positions in the United Arab Emirates which was supposed to remain under wraps from the prying proletariat.
One Already Down
Former Chief Justice Frank Clarke reluctantly resigned from his lucrative Dubai position over the weekend following the controversy that erupted. This followed questions raised about the compatibility of his newly acquired position with his existing role as president of the Law Reform Commission.
A Display of Poor Judgement
Mr Justice Clarke and Mr Justice Kelly’s decisions to take on senior roles in a Dubai commercial court based on common law with its dodgy human rights record has unexpectedly raised the dander senior legal figures in Ireland. Their discernment looks like that of two naughty schoolboys caught red handed on a sneaky clandestine mission.
The head of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Liam Herrick, criticised the appointments that our two buckoos had somehow obtained describing them as concerning given the widespread human rights violations in the UAE. He said “It is a matter of legitimate concern that two of Ireland’s most senior retired judges were appointed to judicial roles by the UAE government.” Ah come on Liam, think of all the money they could have earned for a handy little nixer.
Mr Justice Clarke defending himself said he had informed the Government of his appointment via the attorney general, Paul Gallagher SC as if that would make it all right.
One Down One to Go
Donncha O’Connell, a professor of law at NUI Galway ploughed into the fray with the accurate delivery of an exocet missile saying Mr Justice Kelly’s position had become “completely untenable” following his colleague’s resignation. Alex White SC, a senior counsel and former government minister let fly saying the decision of the two now exposed former members of the Irish judiciary caught with their hands in the cookie jar demonstrated “a major absence of judgment”. Two schoolboys caught in the act of some nefarious adventure come to the Irish People’s mind rather than the activities of two pompous judges.
No Let Up
Bill Shipsey SC the writer of a highly critical article on the appointments said he texted Mr Justice Clarke commending him on his “brave and correct decision” to resign. Labour Party leader and law lecturer, Ivana Bacik not one to miss a soundbite opportunity said she was “flabbergasted”.
Mums the Word
Mr Justice Kelly for a change has wisely made no comment on the controversy to date hoping it will all quickly and quietly boil down. Neither was any comment from Maynooth University where Mr Justice Kelly is an adjunct professor of law. Is there possibly a seething unquiet among its learned ranks? We will wait and see. This story isn’t over yet.