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Coherent code of law to protect children now necessary – Ó Snodaigh

6 March, 2007


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for a coherent code of law covering offences against children to be produced and said provision should also be made for mandatory protections for vulnerable child witnesses during all court proceedings. Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh welcomed Justice Minister Michael McDowell's legislation to close the loophole in criminal law but said that the loophole is a result of the rushing through of emergency legislation last year.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Last year I warned Minister McDowell that rushing through emergency legislation, without allowing time for extensive debate or amendments, to close the loophole that created the Mr. A case, would inevitably lead to mistakes and the opening of further loopholes. The loophole we are now dealing with is a direct result of the rushing through of that legislation.

"The legislation to be debated this evening is necessary to close this loophole and is therefore welcome. A coherent code of law covering offences against children should be produced and provision should also be made for mandatory protections for vulnerable child witnesses during all court proceedings.

"Recent media coverage of issues relating to child protection highlights the urgency of Constitutional reform to protect children. The proposed Referendum Bill while deficient does represent a certain amount of progress for children albeit limited. Therefore Sinn Féin is calling on all parties to facilitate the proposed referendum to take place on the same date as the general election." ENDS

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