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McDowell only interested in soundbites and column inches - Ó Snodaigh

23 October, 2006

In a scathing attack following indications from Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell TD that the Government is considering an assault on civil liberties in order to pose a tough on crime, Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD accused the Minister of only being interested in soundbites and column inches. He predicted the Minister would keep ‘beating the law & order drum with an increasing tempo’ as we near an election. This follows the Minister’s comments at the weekend that a range of rights, such as the right to silence or against ‘double jeopardy’ are to be reviewed.


The Dublin South-Central TD said: “As we get closer and closer to an election, we can expect Minister McDowell to keep beating the law & order drum with an increasing tempo. The reality however, is that he is more interested in press column inches and failed gimmicks like ASBOs, than in really tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.


“With the PDs having been put firmly in their place by Fianna Fáil over the last couple of weeks, what better way to recapture the publicity our Justice Minister is most concerned with than announcing a new assault on long-standing civil liberties.


“While the Minister preens for the media, real measures of supporting besieged working class communities are ignored. Last week community restorative justice projects in Nenagh and Tallaght outlined to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice the success they have been having but there is no sign of this being rolled out on a a national level. The deployment of Gardaí remains little more than farcical with minimal civilianisation of Garda posts that would allow Gardaí to be out on the street. Efforts to reduce recidivism are sidelined for bigger prisons.


“We have a Minister whose criminal justice policies are little more than a collection of soundbites and poses. His latest thoughts are an unacceptable violation of the rights of innocent people to remain silent if they so choose and would allow for multiple prosecutions for the same crime. The Minister should realise there are better ways of dealing with crime than undermining civil liberties and human rights.”  



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