Anderson addresses EU Parliament on SPAD Bill
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson addressing the EU Parliament in Brussels this evening informed members of the ramifications of adoption of the Special Advisors (SPAD) Bill introduced in the Assembly recently by Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) Leader, Jim Allister
Martina Anderson said:
“Last month the North of Ireland reverted to the politics of exclusion by passing legislation barring politically motivated former-prisoners from taking on the role of advisers to Executive Ministers.”
Declaring a personal interest in this issue Ms Anderson continued:
”As a result of the introduction of this regressive legislation my husband, Paul Kavanagh, an former prisoner who served 15 years imprisonment as a consequence of the political conflict in the North of Ireland will be the first person directly effected by this Bill. But it will debar all former prisoners imprisoned for more than five years from holding these posts in the future.
“Paul Kavanagh, has been a Political Advisor to the Joint First Minister, Martin McGuiness MLA for 5 years, but on passage of this Bill will face termination of his employment.
“Despite the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) providing for the employment and re-integration of former prisoners, the SDLP in its refusal to oppose anti-Agreement unionists allowed them to reintroduce the politics of exclusion in the North of Ireland, imposing a retrospective punishment in breach of Article 7 of the ECHR on politically motivated former prisoners.
”It was discrimination and laws such as this which were the catalyst for the conflict in Ireland in the first place.
“If we are to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past we cannot allow bad laws to take hold. I therefore call on the Irish government, as a co-equal signatory to the GFA – an International Treaty between two sovereign States - to support legal challenges to this discriminatory law.”