Wave of Political Appointments to the Judiciary Feared

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Byline: Niamh Griffin

LEGAL experts last night warned of an exodus from the judiciary that could result in the bench being flooded with political appointees after unconfirmed reports that High Court Judge Peter Kelly is considering early retirement.

Experts expressed concerns after it was reported yesterday that Judge Kelly intends to retire. Judge Kelly, 64, is head of the Commercial Court, a branch of the High Court.

His reported retirement plan comes as a High Court colleague retired this week, with four more set to follow soon. Three retired in 2013. If Judge Kelly goes, there will be 10 vacancies on the High Court bench, including recently retired judges and imminent retirements.

A further 10 judges will be required for the new Court of Appeal. Judge Kelly has dealt with high-profile cases including litigation linked to the former Anglo Irish Bank, particularly ongoing litigation with former billionaire Sean Quinn.

Barrister Paul Anthony McDermott said: 'Normally you have one or two judges retiring in a year, that way it's a gradual process of change. …