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Ó Snodaigh opposes continuation of Offences Against the State Acts

19 June, 2008


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has opposed a Government motion in the Dáil today which gives effect to the continuation of draconian measures contained in sections of the Offences Against the State Act. Deputy Ó Snodaigh has moved the Offences Against the State Act Repeal Bill.

Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the operation of the Offences Against the State Act is in violation of Ireland's requirements under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

He said, "Once again I am imploring all Deputies to consider the highly corrosive effect of this legislation on human rights, civil liberties and democratic life in this state before voting today. No emergency exists that could possibly justify the continuation of the draconian measures contained in the sections that are up for renewal or indeed the rest of the Offences Against the State Acts.

"Once again this year the Minister's report on the operation of the 1998 provisions is lacking in the detail required to make an informed judgement of the operation of, the use or abuse of the 17 sections. Simply listing the number of occasions on which the various provisions have been used does not allow for informed democratic scrutiny of their operation.

"The non-emergency operation of this legislation is in violation of Ireland's requirements under the derogation regimes of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Good Friday Agreement requires steps towards security normalisation including the progressive elimination of the Acts' provisions as circumstances permit.

"The Offences Against the State Acts fuel a cycle of repression and resistance which ultimately jeopardises human security by unnecessarily breaching fundamental human rights.

"If the government really want to protect the safety and freedoms of the Irish people they should look towards the human security approach formalised by the 2001 UN International Commission on Human Security This approach moves away from viewing security as being an exclusive (invariably militarist) focus on states towards the sources of daily insecurity experienced by most people such as poverty, disease, conflict, human rights abuses and economic and environmental uncertainty.

"I am urging all Deputies to reject the government motion." ENDS

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