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McDowell's should address real crisis in peace process

24 August, 2005

Responding to the latest outburst of Progressive Democrat president Michael McDowell in relation to the Colombia 3 Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan said his comments stood in stark contrast to his silence in relation to the over 100 attacks in two months on nationalists by loyalists in six counties.

Cllr. Doolan said, "The ministers latest outburst stands in stark contrast to his silence to the over 100 pipe-bomb, petrol-bomb, paint-bomb, gun and knife attacks carried out by loyalists against the nationalist community in the Six Counties over the last two and a half months. Rather than using the return of the Colombia 3 to engage in his usual anti-republican rhetoric the Minister should address this very real crisis in the peace process.

"Michael McDowell's blatant disregard for the evidence produced at the trial in Colombia, which found the men innocent of the charges levelled against them certainly puts a question mark over his suitability to be Minister for Justice. Is he seriously suggesting that he accepts the extremely dubious methods used to secure convictions against these men on appeal? Does he believe in secret tribunals overturning the verdict of an open court, which heard all the evidence? Is this the system of so-called justice the Minister for Justice and former Attorney General would like to see in Ireland? If it is I suspect most sensible people in this State would be not just concerned about civil and human rights in Colombia but the implication of the Ministers comments for civil and human rights in this country.

"Minister McDowell‚s claim that Gerry Adams and the Sinn Féin leadership had anything to do with the men‚s trip to Colombia is just pathetic political opportunism which I wouldn't even dignify with a response.

"Sinn Féin is glad that the men are home and we would like them to be able to get on with their lives with their families." ENDS

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