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Juvenile justice funding cynical attempt to buy election – Ó Snodaigh

19 April, 2007


Responding to today's announcement on juvenile justice provisions Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD accused the Government of using children to buy the election. While he welcomed the financial package to implement some of the Children Act 2001 Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the Act has been in place for the lifetime of this Government with the bulk of its provisions lying dormant. He said, "Denying children a decent justice system and then using them to buy an election is the sort of shameful practice that we have come to expect from this government."

The Dublin South Central TD said, "Finally a financial package is promised by the now outgoing government to implement some of the Children Act 2001. That Act has been in place for the lifetime of this government with the bulk of its justice provisions lying dormant. The Act itself was thirty years in the drafting and its provisions have long been needed by children in this state. Now on the eve of the general election six years after it was agreed by all parties the government finally announce funding. Denying children a decent justice system and then using them to buy an election is the sort of shameful practice that we have come to expect from this government.

"The benefits that were to be had from the Children Act 2001 have been gravely undermined by the Government's six year refusal to fund the implementation of its provisions and by their introduction of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, with the support of both Fine Gael and the Labour Party. That Act lowered the age of criminal responsibility from that provided for by the Children Act 2001 and introduced ASBOs which are proven to fast-track children into prison. The effect of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 is to widen the net criminalisation of children.

"This Government's actions during its term in office have been diametrically opposed to the principles and objectives of the Children's Act. With that in mind, and while welcoming the actual funding, it is hard to see today's announcement as anything more than a shameful exploitation of children with the goal of buying an election." ENDS

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