Sunday 23 October 2016

SF leader clings to a stubborn view on Special Criminal Court

Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30

Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams. Photo: Reuters
Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams. Photo: Reuters

There are a lot of issues that will be debated over the coming fortnight that voters won't bring up on the doorstep.

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The 'fiscal space' is one of them and the Special Criminal Court is another.

So, in theory, Gerry Adams is correct when he says the public aren't asking him about the inner workings of the justice system.

But find me a politician who will claim that new roads and schools and the scope for cutting the hated USC aren't coming up on the canvass trail.

He may not realise it but they are the physical embodiment of the 'fiscal space'.

And is there a candidate who hasn't been asked about crime since Sky News started running special documentaries on the state of gangland culture in Dublin?

Despite what the Sinn Féin president might think, part of the answer to this question is the Special Criminal Court.

The media, and especially Independent News and Media, have reported heavily on Mr Adams's proposal to scrap the court, which has proved so successful in prosecuting members of illegal organisations.

According to the TD, it's all hype. Nobody cares, except the Dublin media.

Mr Adams claims the reasons the court was set up are no longer valid, but he ignores the legacy of the Troubles and the new reality of organised gangs.

He clings on to a stubborn view that an open democracy should allow everybody to be tried by judge and jury.

That sounds fine in theory.

In fact, it is what we would all want.

Unfortunately, that is not the Ireland we live in - or will live in any time soon.

All parties agree there are not enough gardaí in our towns and villages.

There is a need for more investment in surveillance, in technology, in vehicles and in stations.

We need to train skilled officers capable of taking on the worst of these gangsters.

And when they are safely behind bars it may well be time to consider abolishing the Special Criminal Court. Mr Adams has a problem with the media questioning his motives on this issue.

But the media are very upfront in our motives for asking the question.

Today, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, a 'republican' so good he became a ruthless IRA leader, will be before the non-jury court for not paying taxes that would have helped build those roads and schools.

Mr Adams needs to stop digging.

Irish Independent

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