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Ó Snodaigh outlines Sinn Féin's alternatives to ASBOs

9 June, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has addressed a press confernece today on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and the Criminal Justice Bill, at the Earl of Kildare Hotel on Kildare Street. Deputy Ó Snodaigh outlined the reasons for Sinn Féin's opposition to ASBOs and the party's alternative proposals for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Speaking at the press conference he said, "Last year Sinn Féin took a position of opposition to the Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) imposed in the Six Counties by the British Government under the Anti-Social Behaviour (NI) Order 2004, primarily on the basis of human rights concerns, particularly those raised by the children's rights sector.

"But we also oppose ASBOs because the evidence from their operation in Britain for over six years is that they don't work to solve the problem of anti-social behaviour.

"Even the Garda Representative's Association has said that the laws to deal with anti-social behaviour are already in place and that proper resources are all that is needed to enforce these laws. In large part, we agree with them.

"We need effective solutions to anti-social behaviour, not more gimmicks from Michael McDowell. There are more effective alternatives to ASBOs available to us. Let's use them.

"Sinn Féin's basic position on the alternatives to ASBOs is the following:

  • Much of what is represented as "anti-social" behaviour is actually criminal behaviour. Crime should be prosecuted.
  • We need better community policing to deter and to enforce the existing law.
  • We need more resources to enhance community supervision by the Probation and Welfare Service.
  • We need the full implementation of the Children's Act 2001.
  • We need community restorative justice alternatives to imprisonment or fines.
  • Where the behaviour involved is disruptive and offensive but not criminal, we need a community mediation service for conflict resolution such as that operating in Norway.

"Finally, we need to make the Garda Síochána accountable to the communities they serve, by introducing an effective formula such as the Community Policing Partnerships at District Level proposed by Sinn Féin -- which involve much stronger mechanisms for local control than those proposed by the Minister or any of the other political parties." ENDS

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