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O’Brien calls for repeal of Offences against the State Act

13 June, 2012 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on the Minister for Justice to repeal the Offences against the State Act and outlined how Sinn Féin is in favour of establishing a system of rights-based governance, and specifically to respect, protect and promote equality and justice with peace and freedom.

Deputy O’Brien said recent findings in the Supreme Court in relation to Section 29 reinforce Sinn Féin’s view.

The Cork North Central TD said;

“Sinn Féin believes that everyone has the right to freedom from fear and to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. However, we reject ‘law and order’ approaches to justice that do not genuinely or effectively serve human security. The rule of law in a democratic society must be rights-based, accountable, transparent and responsive to the needs of the whole community.

“Our position on this issue is well documented, this time last year I spelt it out again when we were discussing this very same issue. There are a number of members from the technical group and the ULA who also oppose the renewal of these provisions before us today. The UN Human Rights Committee shares our analysis.

“Year on year, the UNHRC has called on this state to address the issue of the Special Criminal Court. Furthermore it is also a necessity due to the government’s own obligations under the Good Friday Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement places the onus on both governments to work towards the normalisation of the policing and security apparatus in both the 26 and the 6 counties and this was endorsed by the overwhelming majority of people on this island and needs to be implemented in full.

“The provisions are draconian in nature, are not human rights compliant and pose serious questions about the type of justice system that we have in place. Recent findings in the Supreme Court in relation to Section 29 has only reinforced this view.

“If this government was really serious about combatting serious organised crime then we should be looking at best practise internationally in terms of addressing this. Organised crime does not just spring up by itself. It emerges from the most deprived communities, crime ravages the poorest communities. Addressing the underlying causes of all crime is a key factor in ending the threat of organised crime specifically.

“Sinn Féin will not support a motion that has no effect other than to breach human rights.”


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