The Taoiseach has defended Attorney General Seamus Woulfe amidst calls for him to be replaced due to comments he made about a Supreme Court case at a function attended by journalists last week.
The Attorney General's description of the Judicial Appointments Bill as a "dog's dinner" have also been labelled "wholly inappropriate" in the Dáil.
During Leaders Questions, Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace questioned the way Mr Woulfe "went on to pontificate what the Supreme Court might do regarding the Angela Kerins case.
"The AG works on the Executive side and he has stepped over the line regarding the separation of powers and has created a constitutional issue. In legal terms he has scandalised the court," Mr Wallace added.
He added that the AG is involved in the nomination of Supreme Court judges, and asked if he should be second guessing their decision making in public over a decision before it is made.
The Wexford TD warned that "a government nearly fell before over the behaviour of an AG, do you not think you should be looking for a new one?"
Responding, Leo Varadkar said Mr Woulfe "made no public comment on that case. However he did make a comment at a private luncheon organised by the Association of European Journalists."
There were laughs from the opposition benches when he made this comment, but the Taoiseach continued: "It has been general practice for a long time for journalists to observe Chatham House rules and I am disappointed that you are laughing at their inability to do so but that is another day's work.
"It is important to point that this case has already been heard. The hearings are over. There is no jury. The judgment is reserved and taking account of these facts and these circumstances, I am satisfied with his clarification," the Taoiseach added.
"The Supreme Court will of course make its judgement in due course, based solely on the submissions made, including submissions made by the AG, and the applicable law."
"He went on to pontificate what the Supreme Court might do regarding the Angela Kerins case. The AG works on the Executive side.He has stepped over the line regarding the separation of powers & has created a constitutional issue"-@wallacemick to @campaignforleo on AG controversy pic.twitter.com/z5YGboBXGm— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) March 27, 2018
Earlier, Mr Wallace took issue with comments made at the same event by Mr Woulfe about the Judicial Appointments Bill.
He said, "The AG's attack on the [Oireachtas] Justice Committee wasn't one of his finer moments. I think it is wholly inappropriate of the AG to be making comments in relation to the policy or direction of the bill. It is not his role. His role is to advice Government on the legalities of the bill only.
"It is not his place to be speaking publicly regarding his opinions as to policy decisions regarding how judges are appointed. He is not an elected member of government but a legal advisor to same."
AG Controversy: @independents4_C TD @wallacemick raised the Attorney General Seamus Woulfe's controversial comments about the Judicial Appointments Bill during Leaders' Questions - "It is not his place to be speaking publicly regarding his opinions on policy decisions" pic.twitter.com/emxXCceXLv— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) March 27, 2018
Mr Wallace added, "If the bill ended up as a 'dog's dinner' it has more to do with the fact that the bill presented by the Government was a mish-mash between Minister Ross' original Private Members Bill and what Fine Gael could live with, rather than the efforts of the opposition on the Justice Committee to correct the bill."
He reiterated his view that the judicial appointments process does need reform and asked if the AG's comments were made to direct public and media attention against the bill?
He also asked the Taoiseach for his views on the Attorney General's comments.
Mr Varadkar said that it is the view across Government that the time has come for the reform and modernisation of the judicial appointments system.
He encouraged all members of the house to work together to get the bill through the house at Committee stage.