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Emergency legislation in breach of Good Friday Agreement commitments – Ó Snodaigh

3 July, 2008 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Human Rights Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Committee in Leinster House this morning, said the continued use of emergency legislation by the Irish Government is in breach of its commitments under the Good Friday Agreement.

The meeting was also attended by Sinn Féin MPs Pat Doherty and Michelle Gildernew.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also called on the Irish Human Rights Commission, who were in attendance, to produce, in conjunction with their counterparts in the North, a list of areas were human rights equivalence has not been established as required under the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking afterwards Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement the use of emergency powers was to be scaled down and human rights legislation in the South was to be at least equivalent to those in the North.

"The Irish Government is in breach of these commitments as it continues the use of the Offences Against the State Act and the provision within that to use the non jury special criminal court. In fact some of the draconian measures contained in the act have just recently been renewed by the Oireachtas with very little debate or scrutiny.

"I raised this with the Human Rights Commission today at the Good Friday Agreement Committee and I am happy that they have expressed concerns in this regard as well.

"I also called on the Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with its counterpart in the North, to produce a list of areas where human rights equivalence has not been established North and South. Again the commission gave a positive response and said it would be a useful exercise." ENDS

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