Saturday 10 December 2016

'Confusion' led to Gerry Adams' 'no gangland' comments being misunderstood - McDonald

Published 08/02/2016 | 13:03

Gerry Adams. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Gerry Adams. Photo: Steve Humphreys

SINN Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald today said “confusion” had led to Gerry Adams’s comments that there were “no ganglands” being misunderstood.

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Ms McDonald was commenting after remarks yesterday by the party leader in reaction to the gangland murder in Dublin last Friday.

The Sinn Féin leader said he did not believe that “ganglands” existed and he was also extremely vague about how juries and witnesses would be protected if the non-jury Special Criminal Court was abolished.

“Confusions arise. But I’m happy – and he is too - to set the record straight,” Ms McDonald told reporters.

The Dublin Central TD, whose base is close to the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra where the shootings took place, said she unreservedly condemned the “action of gangsters and thugs.”  She said gardaí must get the necessary resources to apprehend these people and ensure that they are locked away.

“But we mustn’t fall into the trap of describing an area as ‘gangland,’ or, conceding for a second that any of our communities belong to them,” Ms McDonald said. She added that this was the point Mr Adams was trying to make.

Ms McDonald said people in the vicinity of the hotel had been terrified by the mass shooting and so were homeless people who are accommodated at the hotel. She insisted that nobody in Sinn Féin was naïve about the need to fight crime and take on criminals.

“But the rule of law and proper administration of justice means that you don’t have non-jury courts,” Ms McDonald.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader said the State was lowering its democratic standards by operating the non-jury Special Criminal Court and that jury-less trials were not a deterrent to gangsters. “You don’t lower the State’s standards because of thugs and gurriers.”

Ms McDonald said the Government must explore the use of technology to protect jury members. 

Devices like more anonymity and juries being based at locations away from the courts to hear evidence by video could be implemented.

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