Saturday 18 January 2020

Adams defends opposing EU anti-terrorism laws

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams addresses the media at the Dáil watched by SF TD Jonathan O’Brien. Photo: Tony Gavin
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams addresses the media at the Dáil watched by SF TD Jonathan O’Brien. Photo: Tony Gavin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has defended his opposition to new anti-terrorism laws which were approved by the European Parliament in the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Mr Adams insisted he is not concerned about possible public backlash from his stance on opposing the sharing of passenger name records among European Union member states as part of an attempt to combat terrorism.

"Maybe this measure you asked me about can have an effect but we are not convinced," Mr Adams said.

However, acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald insisted the new anti-terror laws were essential in fighting against the growing threat from jihadi terrorists.

Ms Fitzgerald's comments came as agreement was reached in Strasbourg yesterday on the sharing of passenger records by 461 to 179 votes, after five years of debate on the issue.

Sinn Féin has adamantly opposed the sharing of name records and voted against the introduction of the EU directive on several occasions.

"Every state has the right and the duty to protect their citizens. We are not convinced this measure will enhance security for citizens or for states," Mr Adams said.

"We had bombings there recently and it has been revealed since that agencies involved knew who the perpetrators were and where they were moving and they weren't able to stop them," he added.

After the vote, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said the EU directive "undermines civil rights" and will not protect citizens from future terror attacks.

However, Ms Fitzgerald insisted last night that sharing of passenger information was a very important element in identifying terrorists before they strike.

"The recent terrorist atrocities in Paris and Brussels and the ongoing concern about the threat from foreign fighters emphasise clearly the need for coordinated and targeted action among the Member States of the EU," she said.

The European Parliament also passed new data protection rules yesterday which were approved.

Acting Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection Dara Murphy said the new directive would protect personal data and ensure information was used to improve society for EU citizens. "I believe we have struck a good balance with these new rules, with strong protections for individuals' personal data, based on the key principles of data protection," Mr Murphy said.

Irish Independent

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