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Ó Snodaigh launches measures to tackle serious crime

2 July, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has this morning launched a set of concrete proposals to deal with serious crime ahead of the debate on the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill which will be debated in the Dáil tomorrow. Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the measures included in the Bill will not have any serious impact on tackling crime while they pose a serious threat to our common law justice system.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “With the package of measures included in the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill Justice Minister Dermot Ahern is attempting to portray the Government as being tough on crime. What the Minister is actually introducing is a set of proposals which will have no affect on serious crime but which pose a serious threat to our justice system including the right to trial by jury.

“The Government is trying to rush this legislation through in advance of the summer recess thwarting the debate in a manner which will rule out any prospect of proper scrutiny of the specific proposals contained in the Bill.

“The fact is that jury trials are not the problem. Statistics show that juries have not been reluctant to convict when a solid case is put in front of them. What is required is the measures to help Gardaí build solid cases such as the surveillance measures currently being introduced and a range of practical and effective protections for witnesses.

“The Government has also failed to provide any evidence to back up their claim that jury intimidation is a major problem. However, practical measures for the protection of jurors should be introduced.

“Sufficient legislation already exists to tackle serious crime. What is required now is action rather than yet another publicity driven piece of legislation.

“Among the measures Sinn Féin wants to see taken is the introduction of practical measures to protect jurors and witnesses, effective use of the measures included in the Surveillance Act, a guarantee of the future of the successful Dial to Stop Drug Dealing initiative, enhanced Garda visibility and increased funding for the Garda Drug Squads.

“These are all practical measures which, if introduced, would have an immediate impact in the fight against crime.” ENDS

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