Thursday 23 November 2017

Dearbhail McDonald: Deportation fight creates quagmire for State lawyers

Courts must now grapple with human rights issues in case of accused, writes Dearbhail McDonald

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Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Ireland is, arguably, the best small country to deal with threats to national security. In a permanent State of emergency since 1939, care of the Offences Against the State Act, successive governments have perfected a suite of 'emergency' measures that lesser democracies or aspiring dictators could only dream of.

Since 1972, we have maintained, not without controversy, a non jury Special Criminal Court. With a strong (some might say undue) record of deference towards the State as well as its historic reliance on 'opinion evidence' by senior gardai, the Special Criminal Court is - because of ongoing threats to national security by dissident republicans, amongst others - sadly still with us.

All of which makes aspects of last week's sensational legal action involving the 'foremost recruiter' in Ireland for the Islamic State (Isil) - a purported consultant to violent Isil leaders overseas - somewhat puzzling.

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