Senator Jim Walsh (photo) has withdrawn and clarified the comments he had made in Seanad Éireann on Tuesday.
The Fianna Fáil Senator from New Ross, Co. Wexford had said that "Chairmen of some of the tribunals use their position in order to act more or less as shop stewards for the wealthy legal profession".
Yesterday Senator Walsh told the Seanad that "his descriptions had caused offense" and he was happy to withdraw them.
He said that as a Constitutional Republican he fully respects the separation of powers between the Judiciary and the Oireachtas. However, he added that this did not deprive him of a right "to express fair and reasonable comment in the public interest". He added that the enormous costs of the numerous Irish tribunals have been a concern of his for many years.
Jim Walsh's statement has been welcomed by several of his fellow Senators, including the senior Independent Senator Joe O'Toole.