Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VOTE YES on Judicial Pay Referendum

In 2009 the salaries of public servants were reduced twice by way of two emergency pieces of legislation. The judiciary, by virtue of article 35.5 of the Constitution were excluded from these measures, placing the judiciary in an invidious position vis a vis others paid from the public purse. Many judges made voluntary waivers of their salary in line with these reductions.

The referendum on judges pay allows the Oireachtas to reduce judicial pay in the context of general salary reductions. It seeks to preserve and reaffirm the important principle of judicial independence.

The principle articulated in Article 35.5 is an important one. Unilateral reductions in judicial pay could be perceived as an attack on their independence by Government. The new article 35.5 allows that when- and only when- reductions have been made or are in future made by law to public service pay in the public interest, the Oireachtas can make proportionate reductions to judges' remuneration.

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