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Sinn Féin to raise Tribunal of Inquiries Bill with Taoiseach

9 October, 2006

Sinn Féin's Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that the party's negotiations team is raising Sinn Féin's concerns about the proposed Tribunal of Inquiries Bill with the Taoiseach today. Outlining a number of the party's concerns about the Bill, he stressed the possible implications of the legislation 'for revealing the truth about collusion in Ireland'. He went on to describe the position of the Labour party, as outlined over the weekend, as utterly inadequate and suggested they had clearly not understood the implications of the legislation.

The Dublin South-Central TD said: "Sinn Féin has been outlining our concerns about the Government's proposed Tribunals of Inquiry Bill 2005 since it was first published a year ago. Sinn Féin's negotiators are raising this legislation with the Taoiseach today, due to its implications for revealing the truth about collusion in Ireland.

"Section 34 (7) of the Bill allows the Minister to prevent publication of part or all of a report if it would 'not be in the interest of State security, or the interest of the State's relations with other states or international organisations'. This Bill could jeopardise the ability of any future tribunal to uncover the truth surrounding the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the murders of Seamus Ludlow, Cllr. Eddie Fullerton and Martin Doherty amongst others.

"We have other concerns with the proposed legislation. Part 4 of the Bill includes provisions for appointments to Tribunals. Appointments do not require Oireachtas approval. The Minister has too much discretion in the making of appointments.

"The Government can also dissolve a Tribunal with the approval of the Oireachtas. The Bill should, as proposed by the Law Reform Commission, explicitly provide that a Tribunal of Inquiry may only be dissolved prior to the submission of its final report for extraordinary and compelling reasons that clearly outweigh the public interest in the Tribunal completing its work.

"We have written to the Minister for Justice outlining these, and other concerns, and hope the Government will back our proposals to have the Bill amended. The utterly inadequate response of the Labour party at the weekend, cynically playing partisan politics with this issue in calling for nothing more than the bill to be withdrawn for twelve months, suggests they have not clearly understood the implications of the legislation for the conduct of tribunals in this state."


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