Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said that she considered all names put before her for a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Ms McEntee, who was speaking on LMFM radio, said that there were "a number of names put before me" but refused to be drawn on the exact number.

She said there was "collective approval" at the Cabinet meeting when she recommended Justice Seamus Woulfe for the Supreme Court.

Ms McEntee said that it is always the case that multiple names are put forward for such a vacancy and she chose a name to recommend to Cabinet.

She said that according to the Cabinet handbook "the Taoiseach, Tánaiste any other party leader and the AG (Attorney General) should be informed in advance of a proposal to make such an appointment, and I did more than inform them, I sought their approval". 

Ms McEntee admitted that she felt "the process itself needs to be updated" because names come from different formats.

The Minister also said that she was aware that two vacancies existed on the Supreme Court when the Cabinet was asked to approve the appointment of Mr Justice Wolfe.

Ms McEntee said that she was only told to fill one position at the time. She said has not yet been asked to fill the second vacancy but that she does think that it needs to be filled.

She said that the previous Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, was aware in early spring that a vacancy existed on the Supreme Court and he began a process to fill that vacancy.

Ms McEntee said that he "had written to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board and there were expressions of interest that came in after that". However, the process was "not progressed" due to Covid-19 and the General Election.

She insisted that she did not withhold names and "she made a recommendation to the Taoiseach, to the Tánaiste, to Minister Ryan and the Attorney General, none of whom had any problems".

On Friday last, Ms McEntee wrote to all parties and groups proposing to take questions on Tuesday, 1 December.

Under the format proposed, TDs would have to submit their questions this week, by Wednesday, 25 November.

However, Opposition parties and the Independent Group of TDs are not happy with this proposal and are instead calling for a question-and-answer session that does not require questions to be submitted beforehand.