Monday, July 11, 2011

Minister Shatter on Judges' Memo

I've blogged previously about the judges' memo and the reported conflict between the Minister and the courts service. The Irish Times contains some interesting quotes from the Minister today seeking to allay concerns that the judiciary is being targeted:
“I think it’s regrettable that the matter is on the website, but to some extent it’s a side issue," he said. “I think it’s very unfortunate that an unnecessary controversy has arisen over the commitment in the programme for government to hold a constitutional referendum to deal with the issue of judicial pay, and essentially to facilitate applying to the judiciary in a manner that’s constitutionally appropriate and protects their independence the same public sector wage decreases that have impacted right across everyone who is in receipt of public pay.”

“There can be never any question of the judiciary being as a group or individually targeted for pay reduction,” Mr Shatter said.
“The Government believes this is hugely important to ensure that public respect for the judiciary is maintained and there isn’t a public perception that they’re immune from the financial and economic cataclysm that has hit the State and has affected so many people.”

Perhaps this whole controversy could have been avoided by better communication and drafting of the text. If it were to be tightly drafted to allow for pay reductions only in emergent circumstances when the pay cut was imposed across the board to all public servants, the judges' fears would be allayed. They have repeatedly asserted that they are not opposed to a pay cut.