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Ó Snodaigh welcomes publication of Covert Surveillance Bill

17 April, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has welcomed the publication of the Covert Surveillance Bill 2009. Speaking today after the publication of the Bill Deputy Ó Snodaigh said Sinn Féin is eager to facilitate the passage of the Bill through the Dáil but will table amendments to bolster the safeguards and ensure the correct balance is achieved.

Speeaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “Sinn Féin has been calling for this legislation for some time as its absence is a major legislative deficit and in effect means current surveillance tactics are illegal and are inadmissible in court.

“The legislation must take heed of the criticisms made to date by Justice Morris and others and of ECHR jurisprudence. It must protect against unwarranted invasions of privacy and harassment. It must put in place a sound framework and thresholds through which Gardaí or the DPP can argue a case and seek judicial approval for the use of covert investigatory techniques in particular serious cases. This evidence once gathered properly and in accordance with the ECHR-compliant law would be admissible in court.

“For the past number of years we have called on the Minister to ensure that tackling serious gangland crime is the number one priority for Gardaí but unfortunately to no avail. However, we welcome some of the measures contained in this Bill as they give Gardaí powers to present strong evidence in court.

“Sinn Féin is eager to facilitate the passage of this Bill through the Dáil however there are some measures upon which we would urge caution and we will table amendments to bolster safeguards and ensure the correct balance is achieved.” ENDS

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