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Government creating very real barriers to justice – Ó Snodaigh

16 November, 2006

Responding to today's Estimates for 2007 Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh accused the Government of creating and maintaining very real barriers to justice.

He said, "Once again the Tánaiste right wing priorities and disdain for justice and human rights are made crystal clear by this year's estimates. The IMC, a politically biased body established outside and in breach of the Good Friday Agreement, is to receive €1.5 million in funding next year. Whereas the Human Rights Commission, a body established on foot of the Good Friday Agreement and tasked with advocating respect for the human rights of some 4.2million people inhabiting the 26 counties, is to receive just €2 million.

"Free Legal Advice Centres throughout the state are gravely overstretched and under-resourced as it is. Free Legal Advice Centres are to receive a mere 2% increase next year. That's a reduction in funding in real terms given the rate of inflation and this all results in many people being unable to access justice. Likewise Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers is to be reduced by 2%. This is despite consistent under-funding which has diminished the ability to meet the need required. The refusal of the Government to resource this area gravely limits the services available to vulnerable people in need. They are creating and maintaining very real barriers to justice." ENDS

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