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Thursday 17 October 2019

'Celine's Law could be in place next year' if there is 'political will' to bring it in

Celine Cawley
Celine Cawley
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A law to prevent killers benefiting from their crime could be in place by early next year if it's adopted by the Government and there is "political will" to bring it in.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan last night heaped more pressure on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to introduce 'Celine's Law'.

It came as the bill, which has been passed by the Dáil, was examined by the Oireachtas Justice Committee.

The Government hasn't opposed Mr O'Callaghan's bill, but it has languished in the legislative process.

In recent weeks Mr Flanagan has said he is "anxious" to see it progress.

The law has informally been called after production company owner Celine Cawley, who was killed by her husband Eamonn Lillis.

It came after Lillis, despite being convicted of manslaughter, maintained he was entitled to ownership of assets he jointly held with his wife, including homes in Dublin and France. Lillis ultimately won the right to a 50pc share of Irish assets following a High Court ruling.

Legal expert Prof John Mee warned the justice committee that aspects of the proposed law "go too far" in stripping criminals of property and "risk being struck down" as unconstitutional. However, Prof Mee also agreed that there is a need for legislation in the area and said "careful drafting is required" to get the bill right.

Helen Doyle of victims group AdVic said her group welcomed the bill as "there is an extremely urgent need to address this travesty".

She also said AdVic is disappointed the bill fails to see a killer automatically lose their 50pc interest in a joint tenancy property. Mr O'Callaghan said he's open to amending the bill, including a suggestion that it include those convicted of conspiracy to murder, which is not currently covered.

He later told RTÉ he wants to see the bill adopted by the Government and the resources of the Department of Justice used to work on the legislation. "If there's political will there I believe that this legislation could be enacted by early next year," he added.

Irish Independent

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