There will be ‘no room in a new republic for criminal gangs who prey on our people’.
That was the message from Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú at the Sinn Féin Ard Fhéis, held at the Helix last weekend, where he spoke in favour of modernising the criminal justice system.
The Louth deputy was one of a number of elected representatives who spoke for motion 21, which said non-jury courts could happen ‘only in exceptional circumstances’ and which was adopted by delegates.
Deputy Ó Murchú said ‘a 21st Century system which can provide justice for all our people’ was needed. He said the party has represented areas that have ‘been damaged and ravaged by crime, by organised criminal crime and by drug dealers’.
He said: ‘We need a system that can deal with this so that is what we are going to deliver. We are the same party that is calling for these community and family supports that are necessary, particularly in these areas.
‘We accept that the drugs pandemic is across the board, it’s in every socio-economic sector, but the fact is that those who suffer the most, those that deal with day to day criminality are those who live in deprived working-class areas that have been absolutely failed by this State since its inception’.
Deputy Ó Murchú said the party was ‘not going to let that happen into the future’.
He said: ‘We recognise when important things are said, even by the government. The Programme for Government talks about a Citizens’ Assembly that will look into the reality of the drugs pandemic we are dealing with and, in fairness, takes it away from the heat sometimes generated in the political arena so that we can get to a more sensible solution’.
However, he added, criminal gangs ‘will always need to be dealt with’ and sufficient Gardaí, community Gardaí and court resources will be needed.
He said: ‘We are talking about a courts system where from time to time, people are waiting years for justice, where serious criminals are out on bail.
‘I am fed up of families coming to me and telling me the names of the drug dealers, the first names, and I know who they are talking about – we all know who they are talking about in every area and all they can say is that they have a payment plan with X, Y or Z.
‘It is just not good enough. We need to deliver and I am calling on people to support motion 21.
‘We will deliver the republic, we will deliver for our people, but there will be no room for criminal gangs who prey on our people’.