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Sinn Féin to abstain from Dáil vote on Special Criminal Court

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Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin will again abstain from a Dáil vote to extend the powers of the Special Criminal Court.

Cabinet ministers this morning signed off on extending the Special Criminal Court for yet another year after proposals were brought by justice minister Helen McEntee.

The non-jury criminal court which tries terrorism and serious organised crime cases was previously used during the Troubles to prosecute and jail members of the Provisional IRA.

Last year, Sinn Féin dropped its long-standing opposition to the Special Criminal Court after a vote was held at its Ard Fheis.

Traditionally, Sinn Féin used to oppose the yearly renewal of the legislation, saying that non-jury courts are open to human rights abuses.

Due to the nature of the legislation, it must be extended each year.

Last year, the party held a “walk-out” of the Dáil ahead of a vote of extending the powers of the Offences Against the State Act.

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin said that the party will abstain from the Dáil vote on the legislation, which will be held in the coming weeks.

“As with the last vote, we won’t be opposing or objecting to the renewal. We’ve long argued for the review, which is currently underway, the report is going to be issued in the coming months,” he said.

“We do think there needs to be a comprehensive reform to ensure our criminal justice system and court system is fit to deal with the challenges of 21st century crime.”

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Deputy Ó Broin denied that a “walk-out” was held during the vote last year, saying the party’s TDs left the Dáil chamber in the Convention Centre “because it was an abstention”.

Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said that the party is failing to “stand by the State”.

“Sinn Féin are continuing to refuse to take a stance on this issue and instead are planning to take the easy route out by not bothering to engage on one of the most important aspects of our criminal justice system,” she said.

“By the sounds of it, we’ll be seeing the party pull the same political stunt again this year. How can Sinn Féin justify sitting back on the annual renewal of crucial legislation?”


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