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Ó Snodaigh calls for withdrawal of Tribunal of Inquiry Bill

5 October, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on Justice Minister Michael McDowell to withdraw the Tribunal of Inquiry Bill 2005.  Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh pointed to the particular impact this Bill would have on victims of collusion and their families in their quests for truth.

He said, “I have been in contact with human rights NGOs, and groups like Justice for the Forgotten who represent the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, An Fhirinne, the Pat Finucane Centre and the Eddie Fullerton campaign in relation to this Bill.  I called on the Minister to withdraw the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill last April and I wrote to him last week outlining my objections in detail.

“Journalists have now begun to link the Taosieach's current public predicament prompted by the disclosure of Mahon Tribunal documents with the decision to schedule the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill 2005 for debate next week.  But the full consequences of this Bill are further reaching and gravely worrying.  Of particular concern is the impact this Bill would have on victims of collusion and their families in their quests for truth.

“The Bill as it stands follows in the footsteps of the British Government's Inquiries Act 2005 which amounts to little other than another effort to limit the scope of future inquiries into the cases of those murdered by British state collusion like Pat Finucane.  Rather than furthering the cause of justice, this Bill has instead limited the potential of future public inquiries to uncover the full truth.  It has rightly been condemned by a range of civil and human rights organisations.

“However, we believe that the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill published by Minister McDowell and agreed by this government attempts to do the same.  This Bill would effectively give the government power over whether to establish a Tribunal of Inquiry at all, its terms of reference and its members.  It would also effectively give the government the power to suspend or dissolve a Tribunal for unlimited reasons and to prevent the publication of a Tribunal's report.  This is completely unacceptable and will not instil any confidence amongst either the general public or more crucially those who have been specifically affected and are seeking the full truth about events.  I am repeating my call for this Bill to be withdrawn.” ENDS

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