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SF candidate says he is not in favour of the Special Criminal Court

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Johnny Mythen

Johnny Mythen

Johnny Mythen

A SINN Féin general election candidate has said he is not in favour of the Special Criminal Court. 

Wexford candidate Johnny Mythen said “no” when asked for the third time on South East Radio on Friday morning whether he is in favour of the non-jury court.

His position would appear to put him at odds with official Sinn Féin policy which is to carry out a review of the Special Criminal Court.

Speaking during a debate on South East Radio on Friday, Mr Mythen said: “We’re in favour of sentencing and sentencing matching the crime.

“We took a decision on it and we stuck to that and that’s the way it is. What we’d like to see is more gardaí on the street, which we have put forward, 16,000 gardaí we want on the street.

“We’re... against criminality and that’s what we stand for.”

Asked about his own stance on the Special Criminal Court, he said: “As our party stance, no.”

Sinn Féin has long opposed the court and consistently voted against the extension of the Offences Against the State Act, the legislation which underpins the court, in the Dáil in recent years.

The party has shifted from this position in this general election campaign although it has remained a contentious issue in recent weeks.

Speaking in Dublin on Thursday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party’s decision to change its policy and drop its demand for the abolition of the non-jury court was a decision taken in 2017. It now wants a review of the court.

"We want a review that's complete and it starts with reviews of garda numbers, garda resources, garda practices and procedures, the judicial process, including the special courts and we accept that you need special measures to deal with 21st century criminals," she said.

"We also need to deal with sentencing policy and we need sentencing guidelines. We need to ensure that the DPP's office is properly resourced and then we also need to invest in communities."

She said the party would accept the recommendations of the review which it wants a High Court judge to carry out if in government.

Mr Mythen did not immediately respond to a call seeking further comment.

Online Editors