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Sinn Féin Bill to repeal emergency law

15 June, 2004

Sinn Féin's TDs will tomorrow publish a bill to repeal the repressive Offences Against the State Acts 1939 - 1998. The party has timed its publication to coincide with the Government's annual motion to extend the provisions of the Offences Against the State Act 1998, which will be briefly debated in the Dáil tomorrow, 16th June.

Speaking in advance of the publication, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights said "repressive legislation has no place in a democratic state in the 21st century ? and certainly not in Ireland 10 years into the peace process, 7 years into a continuous cessation by the Irish Republican Army, and 6 years after the conclusion of the Good Friday Agreement, which stipulates that these laws should be reviewed, reformed and dispensed with as circumstances permit."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh added:

"We consider the repeal of the Offences Against the State Acts to be an act of completion under Strand Three of the Good Friday Agreement. It would represent tangible progress in the peace process at this critical juncture, yet the Government has made no move on this since the publication of the Hederman Report two years ago. On the contrary, they have instead renewed the emergency provisions twice without providing any evidence of either necessity or effectiveness. This is not acceptable. People who voted for the Good Friday Agreement did so in the belief that the repressive emergency laws would end.

"With the review of the Good Friday Agreement now taking place, Sinn Féin has published this repeal Bill to remind the Government of its responsibility, and to urge members of the opposition to confront their own creeping complacency by which they have allowed repressive emergency legislation to become part of the ordinary law.

"It is my hope that the Government will ultimately support this Bill, and that it will also gain the support of all the other parties in the Dáil." ENDS

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