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Tribunal of Inquiry Bill must be withdrawn – Ó Snodaigh

20 November, 2007

Commenting on the Tribunal of Inquiry Bill 2005 which commences debate in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD and Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the Bill as an affront to democracy.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"It is an astonishing affront to democracy that Fianna Fáil with the support of the PDs and Greens are continuing with this Bill.

"There can be no doubt that spiralling Tribunal costs must be tackled but any new legislation must not hinder the ability of Tribunals to achieve justice and uncover the truth.

"The 2005 Bill was produced by Justice Minister Michael McDowell prior to his electoral defeat.

"Mr McDowell's objective with this Bill was to replicate the British Inquiries Act and as such the Bill shares many of its fundamental shortcomings

"That Act has been roundly rejected by international human rights experts and organisations from across the globe. The British Inquiries Act stands in the way of the Finucane family's quest for the truth around the murder of their husband and father Pat Finucane.

"A motion backed by all parties in this House last year supporting the Finucane family called for a full, independent, public judicial inquiry. That all-party motion also called for the British Inquiries Act to be amended to allow for the full and proper inquiry. The hypocrisy of the government pushing ahead with this Bill while calling for the British Inquiries act to be amended is stark.

"It will not be lost on the general public that a Fianna Fáil led government, the political party most associated with the Tribunals investigations, is endeavouring to stifle the outcome of its process.

"In the interests of justice and truth I am again calling on the Taoiseach to withdraw the Tribunals Bill." CRÍOCH

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