Senator Jim Walsh has withdrawn and clarified comments he made in the Seanad on Tuesday.

The Fianna Fáil Senator had said 'that Chairmen of some of the tribunals used their position in order to act more or less as shop stewards for the wealthy legal profession'.

This morning he told the House that his description had caused offence and he was happy to withdraw them.

He said as a Constitutional Republican he fully respects the separation of powers between the judiciary and the Oireachtas. However, he added that that did not deprive him of a right to express fair and reasonable comment in the public interest.

He said the enormous cost of tribunals has been concern of his for many years.

His statement has been welcomed by several Senators, including Independent Senator Joe O'Toole.