Saturday 1 October 2016

Simon Harris: 'Gerry Adams is soft on law and order'

Published 09/02/2016 | 12:46

Simon Harris, Junior Finance Minister
Simon Harris, Junior Finance Minister
Gerry Adams. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris has accused Gerry Adams of being “soft on law and order” over the Sinn Fein leader’s commitment to abolish the Special Criminal Court.

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Mr Harris was speaking following yet another brutal gangland murder which is suspected to be a retaliation hit for lasts week’s Regency Hotel killing in Dublin.

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

Mr Adams pledged to abolish the non-jury Special Criminal Court, which recently convicted former IRA boss Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy of tax fraud.

Mr Harris said the gangland murders over the past five days have “rightly shocked, appalled and sickened good decent citizens of this State”.

“I do hope in light of recent events that Gerry Adams and indeed Shane Ross and indeed the Social Democrats would re-evaluate their position in relation to the Special Criminal Court,” he said.

“I don’t think there is any citizen today who would fancy appearing on a jury sitting on judgement of some of these extraordinarily, nasty, dangerous gangland criminals,” he added.

He said Fine Gael has shown a commitment to the Special Criminal Court and will also open a second non-jury court in the coming months if re-elected.

The minister said the Special Criminal Court treats evidence and the burden of proof in the same way as any other court and the only difference is a judge makes the final ruling rather than a jury.

“We know Gerry Adams has a very nuanced view when it comes to law and order but surely even he can see after the atrocities in recent days the absolute need for the Special Criminal Court,” Mr Harris said.

“You cannot going around offering yourself as alternative Taoiseach and be soft on law and order and soft on justice and soft on support for the court system,” he added.

Mr Harris insisted that Fine Gael did not have to re-evaluate its stances as the party of law and order in the wake of the recent crime spree and the many garda scandals that emerged over the last five years.

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