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Ó Snodaigh calls on government to act in best interest of Irish people in Opt Out debate

8 October, 2007

Sinn Fein Dublin TD and spokesperson on Community Safety Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on the cabinet sub-committee, meeting today to discuss a possible Irish opt out from the judicial and police provisions of the proposed EU Constitutional Treaty, to base their decision on the best interests of the Irish people.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Sinn Fein recognises the fundamental importance of international co-operation between law enforcement authorities in the interests of justice for victims and to the prevention of crime.

"However, we believe it is essential that the government seek and achieve an opt-out from the police and judicial provisions of the new EU Constitutional Treaty. In the event that the proposed Treaty is passed an Irish opt-out will allow future governments the freedom to opt-into progressive measures and opt-out of regressive ones as mandated by the Irish people.

"In our experience EU legally-binding measures in the area of Justice and Home Affairs have not achieved the correct balance between the fight against crime and the protection of fundamental human rights. This is particularly the case post September 11th 2001.

"In addition, Britain and Ireland operate a different legal system to the rest of the EU and there is also huge variance across the member states in terms of the human rights safeguards in operation. Therefore we continue to call on the government to negotiate for an Irish opt-out on matters relating to police and judicial co-operation just as the British have already achieved for themselves." CRÍOCH

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