Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 and Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009: Motions

I move the following motions:

That Dáil Éireann resolves that sections 2 to 4, 6 to 12, 14 and 17 of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 (No. 39 of 1998) shall continue in operation for the period beginning on 30th June, 2017 and ending on 29th June, 2018.

That Dáil Éireann resolves that section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (No. 32 of 2009) shall continue in operation for the period beginning on 30th June, 2017 and ending on 29th June, 2018.

These motions seek the continuation in force of important provisions in the law aimed at tackling terrorism and organised crime. Given the nature of these provisions, the Houses of the Oireachtas has decided that they should be routinely reconsidered. The Minister for Justice and Equality is required to lay reports before the Oireachtas on the use of the relevant provisions in the two Acts and reports covering the past 12 months up to 31 May 2017. These were placed before the House on 9 June. I know there has been comment previously on the brief nature of the reports that are placed before the Houses.

They have been traditionally brief to focus clearly on what is required by the Acts - to report on the operation of the provisions in question. I am, of course, fully open to considering suggestions Members might have as to how the reports might be enhanced and I heard Deputy Brendan Howlin's comments earlier. I should caution, however, that there are clear constraints on the detail of what might be included in the context of ensuring there would be no danger of prejudice to the investigation or prosecution of crime or the security of the State.

The Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was passed in the aftermath of the atrocity in Omagh in August of that year. That bloody outrage was an affront to humanity and democracy and lingers long in our memory. A robust response to the paramilitary group that had carried it out and to its like was essential and these Houses put in place the 1998 Act with that aim in mind. The Act was focused on the Northern Ireland-related terrorist threat. Regrettably, there remains to this day a real and persistent security threat from those same paramilitary groups which have set their faces against peace on this island. We need only look at the attempts made to kill PSNI officers in Northern Ireland and the Garda and PSNI successes in seizing firearms and explosives to see the reality of this threat. We must continue to bear down on these groups to seek to put them out of business. That remains an absolute priority for the Government, to which I am honoured to have recently been appointed.

Many provisions of the Offences Against the State Acts could have application to the international terrorist threat we have witnessed recently in shocking attacks in London, Paris and Manchester. Sadly, the nature of that threat means that all open democracies now face it. In the time available, I will not go through all of the relevant sections in detail. The report laid before House does so and also details the instances in which the various sections have been used in the reporting period. Sections 6, 12 and 17 were not used during the period. It is the case that not every section is used every year but this does not undermine the rationale for the powers being available as part of the legal framework for combating terrorist groups.

The report also notes the clear view of the Garda Commissioner that the Act continues to be an important tool in the ongoing fight against terrorism. The Garda authorities have stated the provisions of the Act are used regularly, as is evident from the report laid before the House. In the circumstances, I must conclude that the provisions continue to be required and that they should remain in operation for a further 12 months.

Section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 is also the subject of a motion. It refers to a small number of serious, organised crime offences set out in Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006. Section 8 of the 2009 Act makes these offences scheduled offences for the purposes of Part V of the Offences Against the State Act 1939, that is to say, trials for these offences are to be heard in the Special Criminal Court subject to the power of the Director of Public Prosecutions to direct that the offences be tried in the ordinary courts. The purpose of this provision was to guard against the possibility of interference with jury trial by ruthless criminal gangs. As the report laid before the House shows, no trials in respect of the offences have taken place in the Special Criminal Court but that does not invalidate the reasoning for having the provision in place and available for use whenever it is deemed appropriate. Rather, it serves to highlight the very considered approach taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions in exercising discretion to direct that cases be tried in the ordinary courts where possible. We greatly value trial by jury and must protect it but we cannot ignore the threat posed to the criminal process by criminal gangs in the community.

The view of the Garda Commissioner is set out clearly in the report, that this provision will be required for some time to come. As Minister for Justice and Equality, I must have full regard for the views of the Garda authorities. No Member could be in any doubt about the pernicious nature of the activities of serious organised criminals in this city and across the State who have no regard for the damage they cause in and to communities. They have nothing but disdain for the rule of law and have no hesitation whatsoever in the use of extreme violence and murder in pursuit of their aims. It is my view, therefore, that section 8 should continue in operation for a further 12 months. Accordingly, I commend the motions to the House.

I wish to share time with Deputy James Lawless, to whom I will give my final minute.

That is very generous.

I congratulate Deputy Charles Flanagan on his appointment as Minister for Justice and Equality. It is a significant role, in which I wish him well. I will be happy to work with him on the important issues going through his Department. We worked well with the previous occupant of the office. However, I hope he will bring his own independent viewpoint to bear on issues on his desk in the next while and have an input into them rather than being a prisoner of what the Government and the previous Government agreed to.

It is not appropriate that these important motions are being put through in such an expedited and speedy fashion. The House is required to consider important issues. The Minister has mentioned that this is done routinely each year but it should not become routine for Members to come to the House, review what they said last year, repeat the same comments and on it goes. I revisited what I said last year and the debate must only have taken approximately 20 minutes. I have a great deal of material with me but I have only five minutes in which to contribute. Notwithstanding that, Fianna Fáil will support the motions which seek an extension of the operation of 12 sections of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 and section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009. A number of provisions in the former relate to certain criminal offences and there are a few provisions in the latter but at the heart of the Acts is the use of the Special Criminal Court. An objection to it is raised on an annual basis. Juries should be used as much as possible. The Constitution guarantees individuals the right to trial by jury for serious offences. However, it also recognises that there may be offences which cannot be properly adjudicated on by a jury because of the threat posed to the State and individual jurors. As the Minister said, dissident republicanism is still a threat. There is still a group of people who believe the way to achieve unity is to blow up Protestants in the North to convince them to join a 32-county republic but that is short-sighted. These people exist and we still need legislation to ensure that if they are brought before the courts, juries will not be intimidated by them.

Gangland crime is another serious issue. A number of individuals have been involved in serious criminal offences and do not have any respect for the legal system or jurors. For example, it was not possible to have juries sworn in for cases in Limerick in the past because of the fear members of the juries felt about making decisions in the serious criminal matters involved, and because of this it is necessary to agree to the motions to extend the provisions relating to the Special Criminal Court. As I said during last year's debate, it is incumbent on Members who say we should not have this court to come forward with examples of miscarriages of justice. I have not seen any legitimate claim relating to a miscarriage of justice in that court in the recent past. If people are to oppose its existence, they should identify such miscarriages of justice.

As Deputy Jim O'Callaghan said, we support the legislation and the review. There are various Acts on the Statute Book of a similar nature relating to theft and firearms offences, the misuse of drugs, surveillance and the proceeds of crime. What all of these instruments have in common is that they provide for sanction without a finding of fault against an individual or without a conviction. The presumption of innocence is a valuable pillar of the justice system and we do not intrude on it lightly. These measures are necessary and proportionate but the review process could be improved by paying more than lip service to the exercise through having a brief debate and also by improving consistency across the multiple Acts in the space. Some provide for a review of documents laid before the House, while others provide for a judicial review every number of years. A number of Acts are subject to review in the Chamber, while some are not subject to review at all. The standardisation of approach across all of the legislation would benefit us hugely.

The UN committee against torture is due to review the Irish system in July. In the review, it will examine the powers of detention. It may be timely to investigate what review system could be put in place in that context. In a scenario where the British Prime Minister talked about tearing up the UN Convention on Human Rights during a recent debate, it is important that we be vigilant and protect the criminal justice system from every eventuality.

The continuing spate of gangland-related murders in Dublin and the fear within communities most directly affected by the activities of violent organised criminals requires a sustained and focused response. To properly confront the threat of organised crime and the wider corrosive impact it is having on our society, the Garda and the criminal justice system require the tools to do their job effectively. In this regard, a comprehensive review of the emergency legislation in advance of its renewal next year is required and should focus on how to modernise the criminal justice system to make it responsive to the needs of Ireland in 2017.

Sinn Féin believes we need new legislation repealing the outdated emergency Acts currently in place and replacing it with legislation providing for new courts to deal with these particular cases. The Garda and the criminal justice system need to be equipped to effectively and relentlessly target organised crime bosses, their operations and their assets. Sophisticated, organised, well-resourced and murderous threats to citizens require a focused and rigorous response. Any strategy to counter the threat posed by crime gangs with a huge international reach needs to be multilayered, and one of those layers needs to be at community level. We need targeted and substantial investment in community development, education and employment, particularly in areas where organised crime gangs are recruiting members and where their malign influence is having a devastating effect on social cohesion.

Those at the upper echelons of the crime syndicates are well known to the authorities and are clearly deploying the huge resources at their disposal to avoid prosecution. This requires the State to prioritise and adequately resource intelligence gathering and intelligence-led operations against key organised crime organisations. It also requires full co-operation between the Garda and police services abroad, especially in countries where crime syndicates directing organised crime in Ireland are based. The Garda must have the ability to respond rapidly to violent incidents and threats, and to deploy highly trained armed units.

We need the courts to be resourced so they can effectively expedite criminal trials and demonstrate that justice can be delivered fairly and swiftly. While always supporting, defending and promoting the judicial norm of the right to a jury trial, only in very special circumstances should we deviate from this in order to protect the judicial process. Currently, hearings at the family court are held in camera while the drug treatment court is a specialised court operating within the legal system.

Sinn Féin’s position on the use of special courts in dealing with organised crime has been seriously misrepresented by our political opponents and elements of the media. The reality is that the Garda and the courts are facing 21st-century challenges with 20th-century legislation, and this needs to change. The current outdated criminal justice system does not act as a deterrent to organised criminals; in fact, it is being exploited by them.

The Special Criminal Court was first established under the Offences against the State Act during the Second World War to counter what the Government at the time claimed was a threat to the State’s neutrality from the IRA. Its current incarnation dates from May 1972, following Bloody Sunday in Derry and given the escalating political conflict in the North. The reality is that the Offences against the State Act and the Special Criminal Court are ineffective relics of a conflict era which have failed to deal with the new threats posed by organised crime.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish and British Governments have a responsibility to work towards the normalisation of policing and security matters. That means ending the state of emergency under which the Offences against the State Act operates. An academic debate about the merits or otherwise of the Special Criminal Court during the political conflict will not make communities in 2017 any safer from the activities of organised crime. That needs to be the focus of us all.

The current threat to the administration of justice, including jury intimidation, emanates from the rise of ruthless, organised criminal gangs, principally involved in drug-related and violent crime. Sinn Féin recognises that there are certain criminal cases which are more difficult to prosecute given the nature of organised crime today. The opportunity for well organised and well funded criminal enterprises to influence juries or tamper with evidence or intimidate witnesses is greater than in the vast majority of criminal cases. Therefore, Sinn Féin does not oppose special courts to deal with the very specific circumstances of violent organised criminal gangs which present serious threats to the security of the State and communities when the ordinary courts are prevented from securing the effective administration of justice. In fact, the Constitution provides for this. The objective is to minimise the capacity for those on trial to interfere with or influence the outcome of such cases by engaging in jury or witness intimidation. Sinn Féin has called for a proper examination of the option of juror anonymity and other special arrangements to protect those involved in cases dealing with organised crime.

I hope in the 12 months from now until the renewal of this legislation we can all work together to have a comprehensive review.

I congratulate Deputy Flanagan on his appointment as Minister for Justice and Equality. We worked together in government but also for a long period in dealing with issues in the justice area as our respective party spokespersons. I regard the Department of Justice and Equality as being one of fundamental importance to the State and a challenging Department. I know the Minister is well up for it.

The motions before us are as follows:

That Dáil Éireann resolves that sections 2 to 4, 6 to 12, 14 and 17 of the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 (No. 39 of 1998) shall continue in operation for the period beginning on 30th June, 2017 and ending on 29th June, 2018.

That Dáil Éireann resolves that section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (No. 32 of 2009) shall continue in operation for the period beginning on 30th June, 2017 and ending on 29th June, 2018.

First, it is clear from the terms of the motions that they do not have to be taken today, despite what was said this morning, since they only come into operation on 30 June. Second, I strongly believe the issue should have been referred to the joint committee for a report and recommendation. We made the same point last year and I had hoped there might be a change in the intervening 12 months.

We are asked to resolve that the ordinary courts in the State are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order. These are very big asks of this House. That our courts cannot adequately administer criminal justice is a strong assertion to make. To curtail the right to a jury trial can be justified in circumstances but those circumstances would normally be an element of crisis or an emergency in the affairs of the State.

What is involved is the Oireachtas making a factual judgment in order to justify what otherwise would be unconstitutional, and that factual judgment should be evidence-based. My contention is that the real risk is that the courts may be asked to look behind our assertion. If the courts discover that the Oireachtas arrived at a conclusion with no evidence, inadequate evidence or out-of-date evidence being proffered, I think we are in trouble. The law could have been set out in order to leave it to the Minister to make that assertion but it did not. Instead, the law states that the two Houses would make that assertion.

The Act requires the Minister to prepare a report to inform the Houses before such a determination is made. The four-page, double spaced, typed report is not in fact a real, comprehensive report, which I think the Minister would objectively accept. The report says nothing at all, good, bad or indifferent, about the state of the ordinary criminal justice system yet we are asked to declare as a fact that our criminal courts cannot administer justice. We have not been given any adequate factual basis to come to a real conclusion. I believe that if we rubber stamp this process year after year, then any defence counsel in the Special Criminal Court can argue that the Act cannot validly be extended without an evidence-based determination. While I do not intend to second guess the Minister, it does fall to this House to make that determination because that is what the law states.

My party will not obstruct the passing of these motions, which we will support because we are concerned that there are in our midst criminal gangs that can intimidate jurors, which is a reality for our State of which we must be cognisant. However, we should also be cognisant of the law and the real and important job of work that these Houses have to do. We should have a proper debate about these matters.

We should have evidence-based analysis placed before us that we can parse and analyse as Houses of the Oireachtas rather than, quite frankly, a very inadequate one that, I believe, does not measure up to the legal requirements on which each of us speaks for five minutes on this important issue on an annual basis. I hope the new Minister will do it differently next year.

I agree very much with the previous speaker on the idea that we can, without a full evidence-based debate in the House, state the ordinary courts are not working and are not adequate and that we must continue and endorse the Offences Against the State Act. As a new Deputy speaking to a new Minister, I have to say in earnest it is a high and tall ask of us and of many other people in the House. There is no evidence-based reason for the continuation of this aged legislation, which was introduced at a time the State could have argued there was a threat of terrorism against it. That does not exist now, and to continue it is to undermine the existence of the criminal courts. If the criminal courts cannot adequately deal with the threat of crime, then they need to be looked at and the system needs to be looked at, rather than maintaining an Offences Against the State Act which was introduced for different purposes from what the Minister argues it should be used for now. There is not the crisis or emergency that would justify us continuing it. I support the idea that endorsing it again this evening is absolutely wrong. It does not do justice to the Minister as a new Minister, to me as a new Deputy or to anybody else in the House to endorse it willy-nilly, rubber-stamp it and let it continue as it always has done. It needs full scrutiny and proper debate. Therefore, I argue for a vote against it.

I congratulate the Minister on his new job. Perhaps we will get on better than we expect. Once again we are having an inconsequential debate on Ireland's flouting of international human rights law. Each year, the same points are put forward and each year the Government ignores the arguments and extends these pieces of legislation which have been repeatedly criticised by a range of human rights bodies. The continued existence of the Special Criminal Court and its expanded remit to include organised crime is an affront to the principles of universal human rights.

In 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations on Ireland under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stated:

The Committee reiterates its concern at the lack of a definition of terrorism under domestic legislation and the continuing operation of the Special Criminal Court. It expresses further concern at the expansion of the remit of the Court to include organized crime

The State party should introduce a definition of "terrorist acts" in its domestic legislation, limited to offences which can justifiably be equated with terrorism and its serious consequences. It should also consider abolishing the Special Criminal Court.

The court has jurisdiction over scheduled and non-scheduled offences, meaning people can be arrested and charged with any crime and the DPP can decide to send them to a non-jury trial with no explanation as to why. The people can then be tried and convicted by judges who are not answerable to anyone. There are ways around jury intimidation. Closed circuit television can be used or a jury can be made anonymous. Instead we have a blanket ban on juries in these situations. In the UK there have been only two juryless trials in the past 400 years, where the possibility of jury tampering was empirically proven first. We should be exploring these avenues if we are genuinely interested in the principles of justice.

The Government has repeatedly defended the existence of the court, citing the threat of international terrorism and the ongoing gangland violence we have seen in the city. These arguments sidestep the central issue. The search for justice and the desire to keep the peace in our society are not served well by a justice system that does not operate in a just manner. The Government would do well to try to address the sources of these criminal activities rather than continuing to apply these flawed pieces of legislation that are a perversion of justice and incompatible with international human rights law.

In the case of gangland activity, there is no police force or government on the planet which can claim or demonstrate that prohibition of drugs is a solution to the problems of crime surrounding drugs or the problems of the drugs themselves. Thankfully, there are many examples from all over the world of how relaxing drug laws brings positive outcomes for everyone involved. Such examples show how lending a helping hand to those who find themselves trapped in a cycle of drug use instead of criminalising them for needing a substance to lean on can help them lead stable lives and save communities and families much pain and sorrow. For decades, European countries such as Portugal and Switzerland have been showing us how progressive drug policy works.

With regard to concerns about the threat of international terrorism, the Government would do well to wake up and realise the biggest threat to Ireland in this regard is the long-standing use of Shannon as a forward military base by the US military to carry out its now 16 year long wars of aggression, which have decimated predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and beyond. We knew the threat of terrorism in the west would increase with the onset of these wars. The Chilcot report laid bare the fact that before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, led by the US and UK, Tony Blair was forcefully and repeatedly warned by Britain's intelligence services that it would lead to exactly the type of terrorist attacks that happened in Manchester and London recently. He concealed these warnings from the British people, instead claiming the war would reduce the risk of terrorism. If the Government was really concerned about such attacks happening in Ireland, we would end our collusion with US imperialism and terrorism and engage in a genuine policy of neutrality.

The reality is these laws pose a greater danger to the systems that are supposedly intended to protect than the threats rattled out by the Government to justify the existence of the laws. To quote Professor Dermot Walsh:

There are too many contemporary and historical examples from around the world of States in which political/economic elites have used the cover of emergency or special measures to suppress the growth of opposition and of alternative views. For me, that is the greatest danger posed by such measures. Unless confined to very specific, objectively defined targets, they have a tendency to be used by the State, and by powerful forces or interests within the State, to pursue ulterior agendas. Under the guise of combating terrorism, they can end up causing more lasting damage to basic democratic values and the rule of law than the terrorists could ever hope to have achieved.

The Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was enacted in the wake of the murder of 29 people by the real IRA in Omagh on 15 August that year. As the former Minister for Justice and Equality said, it was a necessary response to the atrocity and the loss of 29 innocent lives, including a pregnant woman. I have spoken in the past about this with the Minister in his previous role in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I ask him to meet Michael Gallagher and his team. The anniversary is fast approaching. The Minister said he would, and he might do so. The former Taoiseach, Deputy Kenny, promised as much. They are struggling hard to find justice for atrocities that happened.

The former Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, also said the bombing and those murders represented a direct attack on the fragile peace process and on the State, and we all agree with this. It was horrific. I was in Omagh the morning after it happened. I was on my way to Omagh that particular day. It demanded a resolute response from the State and a clear statement that the morally bankrupt culture of death adopted by these murderers would not prevail over the will of the majority on the island who wished to live in peace, as we found with the vote on the Good Friday Agreement.

The Act contains a series of amendments to the Offences Against the State Acts 1939 to 1985 to make them more responsive to the threat from certain groups. Each of us in the House is deeply concerned about the security of the State, especially since the attacks on mainland Britain. While we have no involvement, it can happen anywhere and that has been proved. We can have all the robust legislation we like, but what is the point when Garda sergeants and inspectors, and I respect what they are saying, state that if, God forbid, we were ever attacked, the response would be wholly inadequate. We must look at this. I am not here to criticise the Minister, I am here to support him. We must look at giving gardaí the tools of the trade. The real question in this debate is not whether we have enough legislation but whether we have enough co-ordinated and effective security response measures. Whatever about Dublin, and I saw it this morning on the way in here when we were at an armed checkpoint, it appears the regions would be extremely exposed in this regard. I hope the Minister will address this and I will try to support him.

Gangland crime is a heinous, rotten cancer that visits trauma on communities. The crime bosses, along with the racketeering and intimidation that take place, instill fear in people. People in rural areas are regularly victims of roving gangsters. They come into County Tipperary and other counties, using the motorways, to carry out heinous crimes. This happened to a family in Killenaule two years ago and the people concerned showed no remorse after the leaving the court on the day they were finally convicted by a very brave jury. I salute the juries. To make matters worse, in the days before that there were several court cases held in the town of Cashel. The town had to close down because mobs arrived and terrorised every shopkeeper, publican and member of the public. That is unacceptable. Certainly, there was a ring of steel around the courthouse, and I praise the Garda for that, but the rest of the town was left to fend for itself when the mobs arrived.

These people think they are above the law. They have no respect for the law or for people. We must deal with these people effectively and put them away. We cannot have them using free legal aid and the bail laws. I was shocked recently to discover that only one person has ever been electronically tagged, even though the Act has been in place for a number of years. We must know where these marauding gangsters are. We cannot allow them to intimidate ordinary communities who try to be law abiding, pay their taxes and pay their rates. We cannot have a small rural town closed down for a day so these mobsters can be brought to court. If they have to be brought to court, they must be brought to the criminal court in Dublin where they can be ring-fenced instead of visiting such terror, trauma and distress on ordinary people, let alone the victims of the crime. They are the most important people of all.

We must tip the balance in our legislation in favour of victims and their families, rather than focusing on the do-gooders and the so-called rights of the criminals. I accept that they are entitled to justice and are innocent until proven guilty, but these hardened, seasoned, repeat perpetrators of heinous crimes must be taken off the streets and shown no mercy. It is not fair and right that the public and victims would be subject to that, or that such people would be allowed to appear on the media sneering and scoffing at the citizens and saying they are not afraid of them. It is sad. I would love to see restorative justice. I am not somebody who wishes to lock them up and throw away the keys, but hardened criminals such as these must be dealt with effectively. Power must be given to the Garda and the courts to deal with them. That is the reason we need these special courts. I am not wildly in favour of having special courts but we need them at present to curb the terrorism threat as well as the threat of gangland crime.

Question put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 29; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanton, David.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Brady, John.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Jonathan O'Brien.
Question declared carried.
Explanations under Standing Order 138(2A) as received from Members
Deputy Mick Barry voted against the motion as Solidarity believes that the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 is a piece of repressive legislation that undermines a range of civil liberties including the right to remain silent during questioning, the full freedom to call defence witnesses, and the right to free association and movement. The Act also shifts the burden of proof for those accused of certain offences to show their innocence rather than it being the burden of the State to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Solidarity does not believe that the Garda Síochána is a neutral wing of the State when it comes to reporting to the House on the continuance of this Act. Repressive legislation has a tendency to be retained and used for wider purposes.

We now move on to the motion on the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009.

Question put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 28; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanton, David.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Brady, John.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Jonathan O'Brien.
Question declared carried.
Explanations under Standing Order 138(2A) as received from Members
Deputy Mick Barry voted against the motion as Solidarity supports the principle of an accused person being innocent until proven guilty and the right to a trial by jury. The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 removes the right to a trial by jury for those accused of offences related to criminal organisations. Under the Act the Director of Public Prosecutions can allow a case go before a jury. The fact that the person bringing the prosecution can determine if there is a jury or not is not acceptable and is a violation of the right to a fair trial. There is a tendency of repressive legislation being introduced and kept in reserve to be used in future even against those that the legislation was not supposedly intended for; the fact that no person was even charged under section 8 of the Act illustrates this and it brings into question why the Government is seeking to keep this Act in operation. To defend the right to a trial by jury there should be measures in place to protect jurors from any possible intimidation.