The judges of the Supreme Court are to meet this morning to discuss the findings of a report into Judge Seamus Woulfe’s attendance at the Oireachtas golf event in Clifden.
The Irish Examiner has learned that the members of the Supreme Court will meet in person by way of a corporeal meeting in Green Street, Dublin to consider the non-statutory report produced by former Chief Justice Susan Denham.
Judge Woulfe is not expected to attend the meeting.
The presence of Mr Woulfe, Attorney General to the last Government, at the event in August, revealed by this newspaper, has been the source of considerable controversy and he has resisted calls for him to resign.
It is believed Judge Denham’s report will be published later today and Mr Woulfe is said to have defended his decision to attend the event on the grounds he was assured it was in compliance with Covid-19 regulations.
The Supreme Court said it met on Wednesday primarily to decide to forward the report to the Judicial Council.
In a statement, it said it had sent the report to the recently established Judicial Council to enable the council to consider publishing it in furtherance of its statutory function of maintaining confidence in the judiciary.
This morning’s meeting of the Supreme Court is to consider in-depth the findings of Judge Denham’s report.Learn more
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Legal and political sources believe Mr Justice Woulfe is “digging in” and does not intend to resign, though they acknowledge if the Denham Report and the attitude of the Judicial Council were that a resignation was warranted, it would be hard for him to hold out.
It is understood the board of the Judicial Council is also to meet today.
The council has also agreed to indemnify Judge Denham.The Irish Examiner has learned that the members of the Supreme Court will meet in person by way of a corporeal meeting in Green Street, Dublin to consider the non-statutory report produced by former Chief Justice Susan Denham. Picture: Courtpix
Mr Justice Woulfe, the former attorney general, was among more than 80 guests who attended the dinner on August 19th after two days of golf. The event at the Co Galway hotel went ahead despite Covid-19 public health guidelines placing limits on indoor gatherings. It was attended by several TDs and Senators, along with former TDs and senators.
In the course of her review, Judge Denham met Judge Woulfe, accompanied by Michael Collins SC, who he had retained as his legal counsel.
A draft of the report was provided to Mr Justice Woulfe prior to Ms Denham finalising it.
On August 24, the Supreme Court in an unprecedented move, requested Judge Denham, to consider certain questions arising out of the attendance of Mr Justice Seamus Woulfe at an event in the west of Ireland and to report her conclusions and recommendations to the Chief Justice Frank Clarke.
Judge Denham was asked to consider whether Mr Justice Woulfe should have accepted the invitation to dinner.
In addition, whether he should, in all the circumstances, have left the hotel in the light of the situation prevailing.
Furthermore, whether he should have attended the golf event without attending the dinner.
“In the context of those questions, Ms Justice Denham has also been asked to consider whether there are any relevant codes of practice or guidelines and to make any recommendations in that regard which she considers appropriate. This non-statutory approach has been necessitated because of the fact that relevant sections of the Judicial Council Act, 2019 have not yet been commenced,” the Supreme Court said.
The controversy surrounding the event has led to the resignation of Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary as minister for agriculture and European Commissioner Phil Hogan.