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Shatter will use new anti-terrorism laws during G8 if necessary - Ó Clochartaigh

12 June, 2013

Sinn Féin junior spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, speaking today during a Seanad debate on the Criminal Justice Bill (2013), questioned whether the G8 Summit represented a ‘clear and present danger’ of a terrorist attack to the people of Fermanagh.

This was following confirmation by Minister Shatter in the Seanad today, that he will use new anti-terrorism laws, passed this week, during the G8 Summit this weekend if necessary.

The bill gives extra powers to the gardaí in relation to tackling money laundering and terrorist threats.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said;

“There has been speculation that the minister rushed this legislation through because of the impending G8 Summit. I asked him if he has any specific intelligence that there is a ‘clear and present danger’ of a terrorist attack as the world leaders gather in Fermanagh? He says he doesn’t, but that he believes in the cautionary approach.

“The Minister said the Defence Forces had dealt with 98 incidences of neutralising devices suspected of being explosive in 2012 and despite the Good Friday Agreement being in place for 15 years that there is still a serious threat and that the state needs the extra powers to deal with them and that it is about saving lives.

“He said it was important, for example, that the Minister for Justice would have the powers to shut down mobile phone networks if there is a threat they may be used to detonate an explosive device.”

The Galway-West Senator added:

“I asked Minister Shatter who would inform him of such a danger? Is there any chance that he would act on the behest of an external intelligence authority such as the CIA, or who would direct him?

“He confirmed that such an order would only be given at the request of an Assistant Garda Commissioner and that there is ongoing co-operation between the Gardaí, Defence Forces, PSNI and their international counterparts and that he would act strictly within the letter of the law contained in the new legislation’.

“These are very far-reaching powers that must only use them in exceptional circumstances and not under duress from any external forces”.


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