Thursday, 24 March 1994
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. J. Mitchell: The statement I am about to make is in accordance with the terms I submitted to your office. Yesterday I made a statement to the House on the Second Stage of the Solicitors (Amendment) Bill, 1994. One aspect of my speech, as it was presented, could be interpreted as indicating that in relation to the beef inquiry, the present Attorney General appointed the original State legal team and agreed their fees. While the present Attorney General made many decisions in relation to the beef tribunal, he did not make these initial ones. While this error does not alter the central arguments of my speech I, nonetheless, regret it.
 Second, I express regret also if I offended against the procedures of the House but I did so under the impression that the Attorney General was answerable to this House. Third, some of my critics stated that I impugned the integrity of the President of the High Court by reference to his position. I categorically reject that assertion. No such implication was ever intended and in so far as any inference has been drawn, I unreservedly withdraw it.
On the contrary, the President of the High Court, as I said yesterday, is an illustrious judge. I will go further and say that he is a judge of the highest standing and held in the utmost respect. He matches up to the highest judicial standards internationally.
My point yesterday was that it was utterly wrong that such an illustrious judge should be placed by the system and by the coincidence of events in what I regard as an invidious position. The system itself is what I am strongly critical of. If the reports of my remarks have caused him any embarrassment I hope that my comments today redress the matter as he had no hand, act or part in any of the matters of which I complained yesterday.
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