Wednesday 17 January 2018

Majority of Sinn Féin voters want to keep the Special Criminal Court - but party leadership still wants it abolished

Gerry Adams. Photo: Tom Burke
Gerry Adams. Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

John Downing

MOST Sinn Féin voters believe the Special Court Criminal Court must be kept in operation.

But Sinn Féin leaders still insist it must be abolished – even though it would not be “a red line issue” in any future talks about government.

A new Ipsos MRBI survey today shows that two out of three Irish voters believe the non-jury, three-judge Court is needed to combat terrorism and organised crime.

Seven out of 10 Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil and Independent voters want to retain the Court. Sinn Féin has maintained its call for abolition despite the upsurge in gangland killings.

Opinion is more evenly divided with Sinn Féin voters. But 45pc of them want to keep the Court – while 40pc hold with the official party line that it should be abolished.

Asked about the findings today, Sinn Féin finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty said nothing had changed.

“We believe in trial by jury and we believe juries can be protected by special measures as they are throughout Europe. We want to see the Special Criminal Court abolished and so do the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, Amnesty and many other human rights groups,” Mr Doherty said.

But Mr Doherty said the Special Criminal Court  was “not a red line issue” for the party in this election. He said issues like reversing health service cuts took precedence over the future of the Court.

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