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Real and effective measures, not McDowell gimmicks, needed to tackle crime

22 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has attacked Justice Minister Michael McDowell's proposals for the introduction of electronic tagging and ASBOs as crime tackling measures. Speaking today he said, "Real and effective measures are needed to tackle crime not gimmicks such as electronic tagging and ASBOs."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Justice Minister Michael McDowell has said that electronic tagging would have to prove to be more efficient and less expensive than traditional probation and welfare measures but the irony is that these traditional measures have already proven to be efficient and effective. The Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the Probation and Welfare Service published in 2004 found the services to be both effective and good value for money yet the Minister continues to starve these services of the resources they need. I also suspect that the electronic tagging proposal under the current government is simply a further money making opportunity for the private sector.

"The Minister's proposals for ASBOs, which he discussed in detail with a Dáil Committee meeting last September, are not radically different to British ASBOs, despite his current claim. McDowell's ASBOs are essentially based on the same premise, that is the criminalisation of non-criminal behaviour, in particular that of children. And, from what Sinn Féin have witnessed from their application in the Six Counties over the past 6 years is, put simply, they do not work.

"Real and effective measures are needed to tackle crime not gimmicks such as electronic tagging and ASBOs. What we need to see is prosecution of crimes under existing laws, greater community policing, greater resourcing for the Probation and Welfare Service and the full application of the Children Act 2001." ENDS

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