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

I move:

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 the 30th June 2019 and ending on the 29th June 2020.

The House will be aware that the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was enacted in the wake of the barbaric murder by the Real IRA of 29 innocent people at Omagh in August 1998. That atrocity demanded this response from the State as a necessary and wholly proportionate measure to defend the desire of the vast majority on this island to live in peace. Section 18 of the 1998 Act provides that sections 2 to 4, inclusive, 6 to 12, inclusive, 14 and 17 must be renewed by the Oireachtas at least annually if they are to remain in force. These robust provisions of the criminal law play an important part in enabling the Garda authorities to face down the threat from terrorism.

Prior to moving any motion for renewal, the Act requires that I lay before the House a report on the operation of the provisions. The report covers the period from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019 and was laid before the House on 10 June 2019. It includes information provided by the Garda Commissioner on the use of the provisions in question over the past 12 months and a table setting out reported usage figures for each of the years since the Act came into operation.

I will not take up the limited time available by going through in detail each of the relevant sections of the Act. The report I have provided to the House gives details of the various sections and the offences and other arrangements provided for. However, I bring to the attention of the House that in May of this year the Supreme Court upheld an appeal by the State on the constitutionality of section 9(1)(b) of the Act. This subsection provides for an offence of withholding information which might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of another person for a serious offence. The Supreme Court’s finding with regard to the constitutionality of the provision is welcomed.

The report I laid before the House sets out a brief assessment of the security situation. However, there are clear constraints on the detail of what is and can be reported to ensure there is no danger of prejudice to the investigation or prosecution of crime or the security of the State.

A number of the provisions - sections 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12 and 17 - have not been utilised during the reporting period. That a provision is not used in a particular year does not mean it is redundant. We need to take a balanced approach to this. The Garda assessment is that there remains a real and persistent threat from republican paramilitary groups on this island, the so-called dissidents. We know these groups vehemently oppose peace and democracy, and regrettably they remain wedded to brutality and criminality. These groups have spent 20 years trying to destroy the Good Friday Agreement and all it stands for. Their callous disregard for democracy, the rule of law and human life is all too clearly demonstrated with their continuing attempts to murder and maim PSNI officers, most recently in the vicious placing of a device under a PSNI officer’s car. Of course, we can never forget the callous and appalling murder of Lyra McKee in Derry last April. These people are ruthless, reckless and cowardly. Their actions will only strengthen our resolve to redouble our efforts to build a truly peaceful future for the people of Northern Ireland. I am determined that they will not succeed. I am sure everyone in this House shares my determination.

Of course, many provisions of the Offences against the State Acts could have application to the international terrorist threat. While, thankfully, Ireland has been spared the kinds of jihadist-type attacks we have seen in other European countries, targeting innocent people going about their daily lives, such attacks are a stark reminder of the vulnerability of all open democracies to this ongoing threat. Ireland is not immune. Our security authorities are alive to the potential threat we face and continue to work closely with their international counterparts in identifying and responding to that threat. I would also point out it is a small number of people in Ireland whose religious extremism and activities give a cause for concern. They are not characteristic of our Muslim community, who are peaceful and law abiding.

I pay a particular tribute to the women and men of An Garda Síochána who continue to work tirelessly to preserve life and to counter all threats from terrorism. I pay a tribute also to the men and women of the police and security services in Northern Ireland. I acknowledge the work over many years of the chief constable of the PSNI, George Hamilton, and I wish him well in his forthcoming retirement. I thank him for his service. I acknowledge the work of everyone in the PSNI with whom the Garda works closely every day to enhance the safety of all communities on this island.

The report notes the clear view of the Garda authorities that the Act continues to be an important tool in ongoing efforts in the fight against terrorism. The Garda authorities have stated that the provisions of the Act are used regularly and this is evident from the report laid before the House.

I appreciate that some Members of the House are concerned about the role of the Special Criminal Court in the criminal justice system. One of the most important traits of a democratic society is a justice system that operates free from interference by anyone seeking wrongfully to influence outcomes. Our criminal justice system depends not only on judges and lawyers but also on the participation of citizens, whether as witnesses or jurors. This latter role is central to our idea of a trial by a jury of one’s peers. We all agree that trial by jury must be preserved to the greatest extent possible. However, none of us can be blind to the threat posed to the criminal justice process by individuals, terrorist groups and organised criminal groups who seek to subvert the system through the intimidation of citizens. We cannot allow that to happen. We are obliged to make the hard decision that sometimes, in certain limited circumstances, a trial by jury is simply not possible.

To those who assert that the Special Criminal Court is contrary to fundamental rights, I respectfully disagree. The court operates without a jury for sound reason, but trials there involve not one but three judges. Anyone tried in that court has the full range of procedural protections available to him or her, including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. We all look forward to the day when the Special Criminal Court is no longer needed, but regrettably we are not there yet. In the circumstances, I must conclude that these provisions continue to be required and that they should remain in operation for a further 12 months.

I turn to section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009. It refers to four serious, organised crime offences that are 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, trials for these offences are to be heard in the Special Criminal Court subject to the power of the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, to direct that the offences be tried in the ordinary courts. Of course, we greatly value trial by jury and we must protect it, but we cannot ignore the threat posed to the criminal justice process by criminal gangs. The purpose of this provision is to guard against the possibility of interference with jury trial by ruthless criminal gangs operating across society. I will not delay the House repeating the detail of what is set out in the report on this section. The report covers the period from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019 and was laid before the House on 10 June 2019. It includes information provided by the Garda Commissioner on the use, over the past 12 months, of the provisions in question and details of the offences in question.

Although the provision has been in place since 2009, and while there have been arrests under the relevant offences, it was more recently that we saw convictions in respect of relevant offences being secured in cases before the Special Criminal Court. This highlights the considered approach of the DPP in using her discretion to direct that cases be tried in the ordinary courts where it is possible to do so.

Nobody in this House could be in any doubt about the pernicious nature of the activities of serious organised criminals in this State. They have no regard for the damage they cause in communities. They prey on the weak and vulnerable. They have no respect for life, as evidenced from the three murders committed in the space of a week recently in Dublin. Murders committed in broad daylight in residential areas say a lot about the kinds of people we are dealing with. Their ever-increasing depravity was demonstrated recently by the willingness to attempt to commit murder in a busy supermarket. They have nothing but disdain for the rule of law. They have no hesitation whatsoever in the use of extreme violence and murder in pursuit of their aims.

The views of An Garda Síochána are set out clearly in the report. This provision will be required for some time to come. As Minister, I must have full regard for the views of the Garda authorities, and I do. In that regard, I acknowledge the work of An Garda Síochána in tackling organised crime. It continues to make significant seizures of drugs and firearms and continues to prevent further loss of life.

I reiterate that the Special Criminal Court should be preserved to the greatest extent possible. However, we cannot ignore the threat posed to the criminal process by individuals, terrorist groups and organised criminal groups who seek to intimidate jurors or potential jurors. I reject any accusations that the court has operated with bias. Its judges have performed courageous public service in presiding without fear or favour over the prosecution of some of the most dangerous terrorists and ruthless criminals in the State. The court continues to be a necessary and important part of the State’s criminal justice architecture.

On the basis of the information set out in the report, and on the advice of the Garda authorities, I propose that the House approve the continued operation of the relevant provisions of the two Acts for a further 12 months commencing on 30 June 2019.

Every year since 1998, when the Offences against the State (Amendment) Bill was enacted, there has been a debate in this House to discuss whether we should continue with the 12 sections contained within it. This is the fourth occasion on which I have had the opportunity to speak on these motions. Fianna Fáil will support them. The reason is the information laid before the House and our knowledge of what is happening in the real world in respect of terrorist offences. We know from the report and other sources of knowledge that there is, unfortunately, a domestic threat in this country from dissident republican groups. They want to impose their political views on the people of this island through the use of violence. We have seen that recently through the murder of Lyra McKee, as the Minister stated. We have also seen it through the increased threat posed to the officers of the PSNI by members of dissident republican groups. We know from information provided by An Garda Síochána, which is outlined in the report, that the Garda believes these provisions are necessary and important in enabling it to fight against the serious dissident groups that need to be defeated. The people of this country need to be defended against them, particularly given that the groups do not recognise at all the democratic wish of the people expressed in the Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998.

The report also mentions the international threat. There is unquestionably an international threat from terrorism, which is precipitated by events outside this island. It is important to make two points in this respect. First, we are fortunate in this country that we have a Muslim population living on this island who are peaceful and want to ensure they have a peaceful life for themselves and their families. We have been fortunate in that we do not have the type of radicalisation of members of the Islamic community seen in the United Kingdom, France and other European countries. That is to be welcomed. I am sure there are reasons for it that can be explained from our history. Part of the reason is the welcome people from different faiths receive when they come to this country. It is unquestionably the case that there is an international threat, however. Even if there were not, we would still be justified in extending these 12 provisions because of the domestic threat here.

The second motion deals with section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009. That Act provided for the creation of a number of new offences in respect of what is known as gangland crime. It provides that those offences should be scheduled offences that may be determined by the Special Criminal Court. Fianna Fáil will also support that motion. If there is a vote, we will support it tomorrow.

The Minister stated that some Members are concerned about the role of the Special Criminal Court in the criminal justice system; I am not. The court comes within our constitutional system. Article 38.3.1° of the Constitution states special courts may be established by law for the trial of offences where the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice. It is very easy to adopt a purist view in respect of this and say we should only every have trial of offences by jury of one’s peers but we do not live in a pure world. That was recognised in back in 1937 when the Constitution was enacted. The facts of what we have seen happening on the ground in Ireland for very many years confirm, unfortunately, that there is a need for the Special Criminal Court. When one considers the gangland violence in Dublin and throughout the country, one realises there are those in the drugs business who are prepared to kill people in order to convenience themselves and preserve their wealth. They would certainly kill people to preserve their liberty and prevent themselves from going to jail. We have seen in the past that they have murdered journalists who have been sticking their nose into their drugs trade. If it were the case that we did not have a Special Criminal Court or if there were no option for the DPP to pursue prosecution before the Special Criminal Court, we would have juries that would have to make determinations on serious trials of gangland individuals. It is beyond question that those serious gangland criminals would seek to intimidate, threaten and perhaps even kill members of a jury.

If that happened, what consequence would it have for the next time they were prosecuted for the offence? It is not tenable to adopt a purist view and argue there should never be a prosecution unless by a jury. We must live in the real world. We saw what happened in Limerick a number of years ago where it was impossible for a jury to be empanelled in respect of a serious murder charge because of intimidation of people in the local community. Although it may be the case in a pure world that we would have no Special Criminal Court, we are perfectly entitled to one in the constitutional world in which we live.

The Minister has set out the views of the Garda authorities in the report, and that the Garda Commissioner has informed him that this legislation is proving to be an effective tool in tackling organised criminal groups involved in a range of the most serious criminal activities. It is the Garda Commissioner's view that the provisions of section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 are aimed to target such criminal behaviour and assist greatly in the investigations of the activities being planned and committed by organised crime gangs operating in this jurisdiction. We do not have to accept that blindly just because the Garda Commissioner said it but it is important information to assist Members in making their decision on whether a Special Criminal Court is required.

If the Special Criminal Court is such a dangerous and unfair forum, I challenge Members to point to a miscarriage of justice there recently. I cannot think of one but perhaps others are able to. The reason for the Special Criminal Court is to protect jurors. They are constituents, the same as anyone else. Any one of our constituents could be selected to serve on a jury. We have an obligation to try to protect them and we should not expose them to the risk of violence or intimidation if they are required to deal with serious trials of gangland criminals. We need to introduce some reality into this, rather than purism, and for the reasons I have given, Fianna Fáil will support both motions.

The prevalence and viciousness of gang-related violence in this State is one of the greatest challenges we face as a society. Frankly, not remotely enough is being done to come to terms with it. It has become a living nightmare for the communities that have to live with this. People have become terrorised and they have lost hope that it will come to an end. A climate of fear, violence, intimidation, drug-running and other forms of criminality accompanies such gangsterism. There has been a devastating impact on communities.

There have been six gang-related murders so far this year, with three in one week, and several more have been foiled by the work of gardaí. There were 77 homicides last year. There were 185 arrests made for possession of a firearm in 2018 and 89 people charged with discharging a firearm. Between 2016 and 2017, 22 people died in gang-related killings. The response from Government has been totally inadequate. It is still the case that the majority of Garda stations are either at or below the strength they were at in 2014. Dublin has lost 512 gardaí since 2009. Until recent reactions brought about by serious crime, some of the stations that had experienced reductions in gardaí were Coolock and Drogheda. Since 2011, Coolock station has lost 14 full-time gardaí while the local anti-drugs unit lost 13 of its 32 personnel. This problem has gone on and on and this violence continues to spiral out of control. As it goes on, more people will die, more families will be bereaved, and communities will continue to live in fear.

That is not only my assessment. The Garda representative organisations - the Garda Representative Association, GRA, and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, AGSI - have repeatedly stated that An Garda Síochána is decades behind other police forces in terms of numbers, equipment, training and resources. Privately, GRA members have expressed the view that the Government has been complacent about the increase in gang-related crime. I was astonished recently at the decision not to take on the full complement of Garda recruits this year. If this is repeated next year, I question whether the Minister will reach his target of 15,000 sworn members of An Garda Síochána by 2021. In any event, this is far too modest entirely. We should aim for in excess of 16,000 gardaí.

There was an embargo on overtime for gardaí for the final four months of last year, which placed significant restrictions on the ability of sergeants and superintendents to put in place the kinds of operations they wanted. There has been a 40% reduction in community policing in recent times. Community policing is a key link between communities and gardaí and a means to give gardaí information and intelligence about what is happening in those communities. This State has one of the lowest police-to-population ratios in Europe with 278 gardaí per 100,000 citizens, 40 fewer than the EU average.

I recognise that front-line members of an Garda Síochána are doing all within their power to confront this problem. I note the actions and ongoing successes of the Criminal Assets Bureau in recent days and that countless operations by gardaí have prevented crimes and killings and I pay tribute to them for that. However, the Government is not putting in place the resources they need. According to Seamus Boland of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, it is targeting in the region of 20 groups at any one time. Some of these groups, such as the gangs in Dublin, could have hundreds of people linked to them. That is the scale of the challenge.

Last year, I called for "a comprehensive review of the emergency legislation in advance of its renewal next year", following a similar call the previous year, which would focus on how to modernise the criminal justice system to make it responsive to the needs of Ireland in 2018. That has not happened. Sinn Féin believes new legislation is needed to repeal the outdated emergency Acts currently in place and replace them with strengthened and improved legislation providing for new courts to deal with these particular cases. Gardaí and the courts are facing 21st century challenges with early 20th century legislation. The current, outdated criminal justice system does not act as a deterrent to organised crime; it is, in fact, exploited by organised criminals.

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, tamper with evidence or intimidate witnesses is greater than in the vast majority of criminal cases. We should always support, defend and promote the judicial norms of the right to a jury trial and only in special circumstances should we consider deviating from this to protect the judicial process. Hearings at the family court are currently held in camera while the drug treatment court is a specialised court operating within the legal system. Specialisation of courts can make sense. Sinn Féin, therefore, does not oppose special courts and court procedures to deal with the specific circumstances of violent, organised criminal gangs that present serious threats to the security of the State and communities when the ordinary courts are prevented from securing the effective administration of justice. The manner in which we try cases involving serious crime is not adequate and we need to offer greater protections to jurors and witnesses to ensure greater success in putting these criminals away.

The kind of legislative change required has been debated, some of which has been considered by bodies such as the Law Reform Commission, LRC. For example, we believe there is a need to create a specific offence of jury tampering. We also believe there is a need to increase penalties for intimidation of jurors under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999. There are undoubtedly circumstances where it will be appropriate, necessary and proportionate to provide for anonymisation of juries and witnesses. The Government rightly provided for this recently for witnesses in the Domestic Violence Act 2018. Why has it never considered that for serious and organised crime? It can surely be provided for, and is surely necessary, in those circumstances. This can be done via screens in courtrooms or, in particular circumstances, via remote location of jurors with video link to courtroom.

We should take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of jurors and witnesses, but the Government has not even considered these matters. Such legislation could have an in-built independent reviewer of legislation to ensure its effectiveness and to ensure that it is rights-proofed. The Commission on the Future of Policing has recommended just that.

We also need, outside of the legislative framework, to get more serious about tackling serious and organised crime in this State. I urge the Minister to ensure the full implementation of Garda Inspectorate recommendations on serious crime and the Commission on the Future of Policing proposals on tackling crime. One of those is a recommendation Sinn Féin made last year. We called for an annual national threat assessment because the current approach of reports and threat assessments by the national security committee is ad hoc and unstructured.

This could be put on a more secure periodic basis. The commission called for a strategic threat assessment centre and co-ordinator. The detail of this proposal needs to be outlined in greater detail. The Minister and I may differ on that detail, but I am glad that our views were heard by the commission.

We need to speed up the process of civilianisation to free up gardaí from office work and get them onto the street and on patrol. We need proper sentencing guidelines such that people receive sentences fit for their crimes. That is a matter that Sinn Fein has prioritised and on which it has made progress with the Judicial Council Bill 2017. We have made a significant contribution to the area of policing and justice in this term. We need gardaí to be properly in touch with the demands of communities and accountable to them. Public meetings hosted by joint policing committee community forums should influence local policing plans. The Garda should prioritise what the community says works, such as having more gardaí on foot patrol and bicycles and more juvenile liaison officers. We call on the Garda to continue and enhance activities focused on disrupting illegal drug supply chains and eliminating the proceeds of drug-related crimes. We need an aggressive pursuit of major drug traffickers, ensuring that the bigger players are caught, tried and receive appropriate sentences.

The motions relate to the Special Criminal Court and, in particular, the provisions under the 1998 and 2009 Acts relating to same. The court was established under the Offences against the State Act during the Second World War. Its current incarnation dates from 1972. The reality is that the Offences against the State Acts 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. It operates under the standard operating procedure of non-jury trials. We should protect the right to a jury trial and implement the protections I outlined to ensure a fair trial and to ensure that the guilty can be convicted. It is not sensible to perpetuate a situation whereby we are relying on an annual renewal of outdated emergency legislation. We are using 20th century tools for what is a very different challenge in the 21st century.

I have addressed the policing and legislative responses to organised crime, but there is also a need for a policy response. The Minister recently appealed to young people to "drop the bling" and, referring to criminal gangs, stated, "They’re all losers". However well meaning, he somewhat missed the point. People are attracted to criminality and gangs, whether serious or petty, because of a lack of alternatives, poverty and a lack of opportunity, not because of bling. That does not deny people's agency or take away their responsibility for their choices, but we need investment in communities. Crime can thrive where the State neglects communities, and it cannot be tackled by policing or legislation alone. 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.

I again call for the Minister to take on the job of reviewing the legislation to ensure it is up to date, modern and fit for the challenges we face and to make certain that the response to organised crime is stepped up drastically. We will engage enthusiastically with him and play our role to ensure that organised crime is given no quarter and that we have an effective policing, legislative and policy response to shut down this threat.

I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:

“— resolves that sections 2 to 4, 6 to 12 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, 2019 and ending on 29th June, 2020; and

— for want of any or any adequate information being presented to it, by way of a report under section 18 of that Act or otherwise, in order to enable the Dáil to make an informed finding as to the inadequacy of the ordinary courts to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order in relation to the offences under sections 6 to 9 and 12 of that Act, declines to resolve that section 14 of that Act should continue in operation from or after 30th June, 2019.”

Article 38.3.1° of the Constitution requires that in order for specified offences to be tried in non-jury courts, the inadequacy of the ordinary courts to administer justice must be determined in accordance with law. There is a difference between a matter that is to be determined by law, such as the number of county councils under Article 28A, and one to be determined in accordance with law. The latter phrase denotes a certain basic standard of decision-making. For example, a determination based on the toss of a coin could never be one made in accordance with law.

Previously, the scheduling of offences to the Offences against the State Act 1939 was carried out by the Government. Having regard to the fact that it meets and acts as a collective body, the role of the Minister for Justice and Equality in policing and the reporting relationship with the Garda Commissioner, it is reasonable to infer that a reasonable volume of information is available to it when making these decisions. It is noteworthy that the Government filed affidavits as to its knowledge and its means of knowledge when its decisions were challenged in the case of Kavanagh v. the governor of Mountjoy Prison in 2001. The courts clearly afforded the Government a reasonable margin of discretion in its decision, although it was careful not to exclude the possibility of a successful challenge.

In the 1998 and 2009 Acts, however, the Oireachtas arrogated to itself the determination as to the adequacy of the courts to administer justice. It is stated in the body of the Acts that the ordinary courts are inadequate in these cases. The Oireachtas then delegated to the two Houses the decision to be taken annually as to whether the courts remain inadequate. In the absence of such decisions, the offences continue in existence but cease to be scheduled offences. If a Kavanagh-style challenge were mounted today, what would an affidavit filed on behalf of the Houses of the Oireachtas contain as to their state of knowledge about any of these things? These two determinations amount to what would in US practice be called legislative findings. We are not used to them here, but the preambles to the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts provide examples whereby, "a serious disturbance in the economy and a decline in the economic circumstances of the State have occurred, which threaten the well-being of the community; and whereas as a consequence a serious deterioration in the revenues of the State has occurred and there are significant and increasing Exchequer commitments in respect of public service pensions". However, legislators could make those FEMPI findings simply by virtue of information officially provided to them under statute, including, for example, the quarterly Exchequer returns. There is no comparable body of information provided to Oireachtas Members as to the adequacy of the criminal courts or the risk of corruption or intimidation of juries.

In the Abbeylara case, all the judges expressly recognised that Members of both Houses are entitled to make inquiries and to be informed through their committees in aid of the legislative power. In this matter, the Oireachtas and, every year since, the two Houses, make findings which disturb the constitutional equilibrium. They sit and debate in public, as do the committees. We know what they have considered and, as such, we know what they have neglected to consider. The record will show not that they arrived at the wrong conclusion on the evidence, but, rather, that they have had no evidence at all. The adequacy of the ordinary courts to administer justice has never been debated by a committee or on the floor of either House. The statutory report furnished by the Minister to both Houses recites the number of times each offence has been prosecuted, arrests made and so on, but it states nothing, good, bad or indifferent, as to the adequacy of the ordinary courts to administer justice.

It is fair to say that the report is detailed. However, what is relevant is what is not included in it. It refers to section 14 of the Act as providing that the offences created by it are to be scheduled offences for the purposes of the Offences against the State Act 1939, and that scheduled offences are triable before the non-jury Special Criminal Court. It goes on to state that section 14, which deals with scheduled offences under the Act, was utilised on 36 occasions last year. It does not make reference to the fact that section 14 of the Act declares that "the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order" in respect of each of those offences. The Houses are being invited to renew that declaration on foot of a report that does not refer to the terms of the declaration expressly or by implication and which contains no information or opinion as to the adequacy of the ordinary jury courts.

The more solid and substantial evidential basis we require for renewal is one that expressly recognises and addresses the core question of whether jury courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order. In the absence of evidence, how can the Houses arrive at a decision in accordance with law that section 14 of the 1998 Act should be continued?

If it is the case that the decision was not just on its merits wrong and grounded on inadequate evidence, but rather taken without reference to any evidence at all, it is not too hard to argue that the determination is not made in accordance with law as Article 38 of the Constitution requires and that it is vulnerable to legal challenge by a future defendant before the Special Criminal Court. This is not a case in which a court would refuse on separation of powers grounds to second-guess a parliamentary opinion; it is, rather, a case in which a court might very well say that if the Houses of the Oireachtas insist on retaining for themselves the power to make decisions on these matters, they must take the basic step of informing themselves about the matters on which they are to decide.

We propose two amendments to the motions. The second amendment was ruled out of order as being equivalent to a direct negative to the motion. The first amendment resolves that sections 2 to 4, inclusive, 6 to 12, inclusive, and 17 of the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 should continue in operation for the period beginning 30 June 2019 and ending 29 June 2020. However, the amendment resolves that section 14 of that Act should not continue in operation. The effect would be that all these offences would be continued but would be prosecuted in the ordinary way before the ordinary courts. The reason given for declining to resolve that section 14 should continue in operation is "for want of any or any adequate information being presented to [the Dáil], by way of a report under section 18 of that Act or otherwise, in order to enable the Dáil to make an informed finding as to the inadequacy of the ordinary courts to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order in relation to the offences".

With these motions, the Government is asking us to give another green light to keep some of the most draconian legislation on the Statute Book for another year. These measures represent a serious attack on some key basic democratic principles. The right to trial by jury, the right to silence and the right to call witnesses in a trial are all impinged. There is also a lengthening of the time a person can be detained after arrest, a shift in the burden of proof, and the provision that the mere opinion of a Garda be treated as evidence. The Socialist Party and Solidarity oppose these so-called emergency measures. We have opposed them since their inception in 1998 and we will vote against their continued extension this year.

These measures were introduced after the Omagh bombing in 1998. The bombing was an atrocity. Widespread shock and revulsion was felt by people on both sides of the Border, in all communities, and internationally. The shock of the bombing and people's desire to see an end to such bombings were cynically exploited by the political establishment to erode democratic rights. This legislation was significant, yet it was rushed through the Dáil in less than 24 hours. Incredibly, the text of the Bill was only made available to Deputies hours before it was voted on, giving no time to consider and tease out its implications. This tradition has continued this year with the Government choosing not to give a report to the Dáil, as it is meant to do, at least to give a formal reason these emergency measures should be continued. At the time this legislation was rushed through, the House was told it was a necessary evil. The then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, described the measures as draconian, and the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform described the Act as harsh.

We were led to believe in 1998 that this attack on democratic rights would be a temporary measure. Each year, however, we have been told that this harsh and draconian law is still needed due to the current threats, whether sectarian paramilitaries, criminal gangs or international terrorism. Governments, including members of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party and the Green Party and some Independents, have signed off on this for the past 20 years. We welcome the conversion of the Labour Party this year and we will support its amendment seeking to prevent at least the extension of some of these measures.

The history of the Troubles is one in which the British state brought in measures such as internment and Diplock courts. The Irish State also brought in repressive measures. None of these measures ended the conflict. Paramilitary ceasefires were not brought about by repressive legislation. What pushed back the conflict was the opposition to sectarian conflict in working-class communities, both Catholic and Protestant. This prevented an escalation of the conflict and a descent into all-out sectarian war. Draconian legislation is not the answer; in fact, it is counterproductive. Terrorism and crime are fuelled by a number of factors. Poverty, injustice, anger against discrimination and racism, outrage against imperialist wars, and alienation from the political establishment can all be exploited to recruit young people and direct them down the reactionary and dead-end road of terrorism or crime. People should not trust this capitalist establishment with these laws.

Attacks on democratic rights that have been brought in under the guise of combating terrorism or serious crime have been continually used as a weapon to clamp down on people's right to protest and against social movements. An example of this is graphically seen today in Hong Kong, where there is an attempt to bring in a repressive law on extradition. This would legalise the Chinese dictatorship's abductions of political dissidents in Hong Kong. This is being met with mass resistance, with 1 million people taking to the streets of Hong Kong last Sunday. The regime is now attempting to use brutal repression to cut across this movement. Today 50,000 students closed roads and blocked parliament from debating the new legislation. Police launched tear gas and rubber bullets. At least two people have suffered serious head wounds from rubber bullets. There are indications that a strike led by the teachers' union is commencing in response. In order to put an end to this new law and to defend democratic rights, this strike can and should now spread. The Socialist Party and Solidarity stand with workers and young people against this repressive law and for full democratic rights in Hong Kong and China. It is essential that this movement spreads into China and is linked in with the workers' movement.

We stand against the repression taking place on the streets of Hong Kong and, in the same spirit and the same tradition, we stand against the repressive legislation put forward by the Minister and the Government for renewal in this Dáil.

Two years ago, Deputy Jonathan O'Brien called for a comprehensive review of this emergency legislation. He said such a review "should focus on how to modernise the criminal justice system to make it responsive to the needs of Ireland in 2017". No review was ever conducted. We have seen little serious reform of our criminal justice system in the lifetime of this Government. Instead, the Government has wasted its time with the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Bill the Minister of State, Deputy Moran, introduced. The retention of the Special Criminal Court means we will continue to be selective in how we recognise and apply human rights. We are into very dangerous territory when such selectivity is applied to rights that should be universal. Everyone should have the right to a trial by jury of his or her peers. Instead we have in Ireland a bizarre and deeply unjust situation whereby the DPP gets to decide how courts will try certain offences and whether certain offences should be tried by a jury. These laws are counterproductive and have a radicalising effect. Gangland crime and terrorism derive from deep structural inequalities in society, and successive Governments have failed absolutely to deal with these inequalities.

In November last year, the UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, said the Special Criminal Court is operating a permanent emergency and that people do not even notice any more that exceptional powers have become the norm. We are normalising what is at best a selective approach to the recognition and application of human rights. The Special Criminal Court was initially established to deal with terrorism but its jurisdiction has expanded to include serious crime. This exploitation of emergency power functions is in the same manner as disaster capitalism, the so-called shock doctrine. The special rapporteur was particularly critical of this slippage or mission creep of the court and compared it to the aftermath of 9/11, when there was a proliferation of counterterrorism norms and practices across the world, spawning de facto and permanent emergencies in national practice. She said, "The island of Ireland, more so than many parts of the world, has experienced emergency law, emergency practice, and the seepage of the exceptional into the ordinary system in ways that has not served the rule of law nor the protection of human rights well."

The special rapporteur stated that these emergency powers involve extensive and sustained human rights violations. She said she recognises that terrorism may trigger the conditions of an emergency but this does not mean a state must use emergency powers to regulate terrorism, particularly when ordinary law is sufficient and robust. She stated, "I underscore my concern that there has been an ongoing rush to counter-terrorism regulation without adequate consideration of the capacity of the ordinary law of many states to function effectively."

During previous debates on the matter, the Minister invoked the threat of international terrorism as justification for continuing a no-jury court in Ireland but the Government continues to allow Shannon Airport as a base from which to create untold destruction in other regions. If we put a stop to the use of Shannon Airport by the United States military, the threat of international terrorism to which the Minister referred would be far less significant. Why has the Government not considered this if it is really concerned about terrorism?

I will pick up on a few points made by Deputy Jim O'Callaghan, my good friend and fellow member of the justice committee. He applauds the fact that Muslims in Ireland have not been radicalised but when we speak about terrorism, we seem to forget that state terrorism is the biggest form of terrorism on the planet by a mile. There is no comparison with any other form and the number of people killed and communities destroyed by what the Americans do through their military operations is frightening. We tolerate American terrorism while we introduce draconian laws to deal with acts that are far more petty in comparison. We should cop on to ourselves.

We are more than 70 years after the first request for a special criminal court to be set up in order to protect Ireland's neutrality. Here we are with another request to renew these powers. It looks like the Special Criminal Court is now enshrined in our legal system and almost normalised as a court setting. There is no role for it in a modern, democratic and functioning state with a functioning legal system. We know there is overwhelming support for the Good Friday Agreement and the peace that has prevailed. Ireland is not under threat but even if there were threats in 2019, surely our legal system should be adequate to deal with them without a Special Criminal Court. We have been told about all these dissident groups but there does not seem to be any recognition that many dissident groups have now turned their backs on armed struggle. Where is the engagement with those dissidents who are still committed to armed struggle to try to persuade them otherwise? It is much easier to have this continuance of the Special Criminal Court rather than that kind of engagement.

I represent the constituency that has seen more gangland crime than others. I know some people in my constituency support the Special Criminal Court but the fear relates to intimidation of juries, and there are ways to deal with that, as we have seen in countries with far more gangland crime than we have in Ireland. The best way to deal with gangland crime is to hit the perpetrators where it hurts the most, which is in their pockets. We are seeing great success in that by the Garda. We know the Special Criminal Court has been criticised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Council of Europe and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: that is ironic as Ireland has a considerable reputation on human rights. We are conveniently ignoring a basic human right, which is the right of a person to a fair trial by a jury of peers. We are continuing to give exceptional powers to this court, which allows convictions based on hearsay evidence.

I, along with others, was really appalled at what happened in a French court recently when somebody was convicted on the basis of hearsay and a psychological profiling of a person whom the psychologist in question had not even met. It seems something similar happens here as that is the type of evidence used in the Special Criminal Court. When I listened to some of this evening's contributions, I thought for a minute I lived in one of those Caribbean or Latin American countries where there are murders every five minutes of every day, with bodies being found here, there and everywhere. That is not the Ireland in which I live. I look forward to the day when the Minister will come here seeking to rescind this process and terminate the Special Criminal Court. It is an abuse of human rights and people are entitled to a jury system and to be tried by their peers. I do not see the threats outlined by the Minister and others.

I reiterate the comments of my colleagues, Deputies O'Sullivan and Wallace, on the Special Criminal Court and the continuation of the provisions of the Offences against the State Act, which has been around since 1940. We have this charade every year of renewing these provisions and the Government brings little information to the House in doing so. I know a document has been laid before the Houses outlining the number of offences under which people have been arrested. There is no need for a special court but we could argue about whether such a need exists to deal with paramilitary crimes. The real danger is how the Garda uses the Offences against the State Act as gardaí may not have any powers of arrest at all but use the Act because it is convenient. The legal practitioners will not challenge the Garda because the idea is if people come before the courts charged under the Offences against the State Act, such persons are guilty anyway. Why should they receive a justice process to which everybody else is entitled? The way this use and abuse occurs is what is wrong with the justice system. It is used and abused to serve the convenience of the Garda and ensure gardaí can do whatever they want. As long as this position persists, we will undermine the justice system across the country.

As Deputies O'Sullivan and Wallace have asked, where is the justification for these powers? I do not see it. We should have a more constructive and lengthy debate on what the Garda is doing. Almost every country in Europe has bigger problems with crime and drug problems but they can deal with them. Why can we not do it? We have a convenience as people can be arrested without any evidence to be held for seven days. Everything is dealt with in a handy manner in the courts. We should oppose this motion and have a more constructive and lengthy debate on the operation of these types of courts.

As the Minister indicated in his opening remarks, the House is aware that the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was enacted in the wake of the barbaric murder by the Real IRA of 29 innocent people in Omagh in August 1998. Long before that, as others noted, in 1940 we had an emergency powers Act and the Minister is seeking to renew those emergency powers. I have spoken in support of those powers for many years since coming to the Oireachtas but I am beginning to have concerns. We need a comprehensive overview of our emergency legislation, as we do with much other legislation related to policing and criminal justice. The UN special rapporteur dealing with human rights, among others, has been very critical of this legislation. I might not pay too much heed to the likes of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties sometimes but criticism from such bodies means we should reflect on this matter. It should not be a matter of tokenism when we come in here annually to approve these processes for another year.

The Garda Síochána needs our full support and respect, and that should work both ways. Respect is a two-way street. I do not blame the Minister in particular but if he is serious, he should support An Garda Síochána and give it the tools of the trade to do its job. He should give the Garda the required resources.

I have been campaigning for my own area in Clonmel, which has the lowest numbers of gardaí in the country. It is unfair to expect the Garda officers in Clonmel to be able to carry on, not to mind that they have to deal with the emerging problems of gangs and so on.

Mention was made of 20 major gangs in the country. There are that number, and more, and they are gaining members. We need to start at the bottom in dealing with that and ensure that everyone respects and understands the law. We need more community policing. We need the local garda in situ. I must praise Garda Niall O'Halloran in our area who is on the ground and available to people 100% of the time. The people support him. Those gardaí have the trust of the community and they solve more crimes that way.

Changes in legislation in recent years, some of which were forced through here by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, and supported by the Minister and with abstentions from Fianna Fáil Members, are doing a lot of damage to the fabric of the support base of the gardaí. No police force in the world can police without the support of the public. In my village, every third or fourth Sunday people are being stopped going to mass. They are literally being harassed. That is over the top and it is driving away the support for the Garda. I am chairperson of the second community alert group set up in the country in 1996. We need people to look out for each other and our neighbours. We need people to be there to help the members of An Garda Síochána solve crime. They cannot do it without that help yet we have that overkill in terms of checkpoints where people are being stopped bringing their children to school, to mass or wherever at a time when we have criminal activity that cannot be dealt with because the Garda does not have the numbers to do it. They tell us that the reason for most of the checkpoints in the morning is because they do not have the resources to have them out at night but that is when they are needed.

The Minister met the Tipperary people some years who had set up a group because they were being almost terrorised by marauding gangs who were stealing everything they had, whether it would be farmers, shopkeepers, businesspeople or whoever. The Garda does not have the resources to deal with that. With the recent exacerbation of the crime problem in Dublin and Drogheda resources are being taken out of the country and we have fewer resources as a result. We had the visit of President Trump last week who was welcome as far as I was concerned but it took a major policing operation to secure the visit. That is fine but gardaí were taken from my areas in the Clonmel and Cahir division to back up those involved in that operation. As a result, we were very thin on the ground in terms of Garda cover. We are thin on the ground anyway in terms of Garda numbers. The gardaí know that. They should be given the tools of the trade, the proper legislation and education regarding changes in the law, dealing with the courts and barristers and everybody else in a challenging situation. I am beginning to wonder if this is the tool.

I can also mention the Omagh bomb families including Michael Gallagher and friends who I have worked with closely. That was an appalling atrocity. In an Ard Fheis speech one night, which was broadcast by RTÉ, the Minister's former Taoiseach pointed out Mr. Gallagher in the audience and told him, "You will get justice from us; you won't get it from Fianna Fáil." However, when he became Taoiseach I brought Mr. Gallagher to the Public Gallery while I raised questions with the Taoiseach but he would not meet him. I ask the Minister now if he has met with the families of the Omagh bomb victims and if he has discussed that with them. What happened in Omagh was a travesty. We could blame the barbaric people who planted the bomb but a lot of information was known by certain agents and agencies who did not act on it. It should not have happened. The families of the 29 people who died, including a woman pregnant with twins, are left bewildered. They are looking for justice also. There is a lot of cleaning out of the cupboards to be done in that regard.

We have seen what has happened with banking and lending institutions in recent times. I refer to so-called court orders being waved at people. Deputy O'Callaghan would know more about a court order than I would but I have often been present when they were not proper legal court orders and gardaí were in an invidious position of being in the middle and having to stand idly by. It happened in Balbriggan where a family was torn from their home. The vehicles those thugs used were parked in Balbriggan Garda station. It happened in Roscommon also, in the Acting Chairman's constituency, to which there was an over-reaction afterwards. I condemned both incidents in Roscommon but the reaction after them was over the top.

In my own town recently a group of families were being housed in an area. A meeting was held in a county council office which I attended along with other Deputies, councillors and concerned residents. I condemn out of hand the action that was taken. That house was damaged and the people have not moved into it yet but I was astounded that the ten or 12 people who attended that meeting in a council scenario, some of whom were very elderly, to express their concerns were brought in for questioning as if they did it. They were horrified. I refer to 70 and 80 year olds being brought in for questioning for two or three hours. Three detectives and a garda were put on different people. Thankfully, I was not questioned. I always support the gardaí but if people are being suppressed like that and families bullied and the gardaí are seen to be standing idly by, something must be done. In many cases they do not understand what they are doing. In other cases, unfortunately, some retired senior personnel from An Garda Síochána are involved in advising and logistics for this third force, as I called them here previously, from Northern Ireland and other police forces across eastern Europe. We need to have a good evaluation of where we are going and what we are doing in that regard.

Ní neart go cur le chéile. I want to support An Garda Síochána but I want the numbers increased to over 16,000. Historically, my county of Tipperary has the lowest numbers of gardaí per head of population in any division. The Minister is aware of the appalling state of our Garda station about which we have had promise after promise. I accept his bona fides that he is doing his best to sort it out with the Minister of State, Deputy Kevin "Boxer" Moran, but I refer to the conditions that gardaí have to work with in Clonmel Garda station, the lack of numbers and the drug problem we have in Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir. I attended a very sad funeral yesterday morning, and there will be another one there tonight. I refer to the suicide epidemic and the threats people are getting from organised gangs. Ten year olds are going around delivering the drugs. Everybody knows who they are yet it is not being acted upon. We must stamp that out but the only way to do that is to have a restructured and reinforced drug squad in Tipperary, which has the largest division in the town. Some say that Athlone is bigger but it is not; it is the second largest inland town. Units of An Garda Síochána have five or six gardaí whereas down the road in Kilkenny they have 12. We need those numbers reinforced and we need the patrol cars. I had to raise that issue lately with the Minister because they had no patrol cars. We give the Garda Síochána our support. We give them the tools of the trade to do their job. Above all, we support them in terms of the numbers.

We had two tragic accidents some months ago which occurred on a Monday and a Thursday on both sides of Clonmel, on the Waterford and the Cahir side. Two unfortunate gardaí had to go out to both accidents, which involved fatalities, without being given any counselling or other supports. That is traumatic in itself.

We need to respect An Garda Síochána and support it. We need to examine all this legislation and make sure it is fit for purpose and that it deals with the vulture funds and bankers, who seem to be above the law and can ride roughshod over people and hire these third forces, which should not be tolerated in any country. We have an Army and An Garda Síochána. There is no place in Ireland for these moneyed people who can destroy people's lives and families and come in heavy-handed in the dead of night with masks, dogs and everything else. That should not be tolerated. It is doing damage to the body politic and the public support for An Garda Síochána. I want to support An Garda Síochána but I want to see true and meaningful reforms. I have my mind made up and I will support this legislation.

I thank the Deputies for speaking on and giving appropriate consideration to these motions, but particularly those who have indicated support.

I want to refer again to the question of the Special Criminal Court as it touches on both motions and has been raised by a number of Deputies. Indeed, it raises objections on an annual basis. There are those in this House who have argued that the Special Criminal Court is no longer needed, that its use is unjustified or even that in circumstances it has been partisan. I have to say that I respectfully and firmly disagree.

I reiterate my belief that juries should be used as much as possible. The Constitution guarantees individuals the right to trial by jury for serious offences. However, we are dealing with an unfortunate reality that there are many offences which cannot be properly adjudicated on by a jury because of the threat posed to the State and individual jurors and witnesses. The Special Criminal Court continues to be a necessary response to the threats faced by the State.

I was interested in the points raised by Deputy Sherlock. It is not the role of the Minister for Justice and Equality to form the minds of Members of the Oireachtas. The reason we are debating here is because I see myself as having a duty to inform the Members of the facts but it is reasonable to assume that Members will engage in their own research, consideration and knowledge, the sum total of which will form the views of Members, including the views of Members as to the operation of normal courts and the capacity to administer justice in circumstances.

The reason we are dealing with these motions is to allow for the supremacy of the Legislature, which is as it should be. I do not dictate, I present the facts and the information and Members can make up their minds - that is the essence of debate.

I have said previously, and repeat it for the record, that the judges of the Special Criminal Court have performed courageous public service in presiding without fear or favour over the prosecution of some of the most dangerous terrorists and ruthless criminals in the State. The court has proved its value over the years and continues to do so. These are the facts.

The right to a jury is an extremely important aspect of our criminal justice system but the reality continues to be that there are times and cases in which the only way justice can be served is through the Special Criminal Court. I say to Deputy Mattie McGrath, who has just left the Chamber, these are not emergency laws, they are complementary laws. They are complementary to the general body of criminal law we have here. Over the course of the history of the State, especially during the Troubles on this island, these laws served to protect and safeguard the State from determined efforts to undermine it and its democratic institutions.

Is there anyone in this House who denies that a democratic state is entitled to and must take the measures it considers necessary to protect itself, its institutions, its people and fundamental rights and freedoms and to allow civil society to flourish? I make no apology for defending our laws and the measures we have in place to combat serious crime and terrorism – the people require us to do what we reasonably can to protect them. That is our duty.

Is there anyone in this House who denies that a democratic state is entitled to and must take the measures it considers necessary to protect itself, to protect fundamental rights and freedoms and to allow civil society to flourish?

I make no apology for defending our laws and the measures we have in place to combat serious crime and terrorism – the people require us to do what we reasonably can to protect them. That is our duty.

There has been much consideration of Garda resources during this debate. Members have said they would like further and more comprehensive debate on the criminal justice system. I do not have a difficulty with that. I come in here and answer questions, I go to the committee on a regular basis, I attend the House for Topical Issue debates and for other plenary debates. We had a comprehensive debate on the commission on the future of policing document when it was published last autumn and when its implementation was launched in December. I would be happy to give the House a progress report: I am in the hands of the Business Committee to have any type of debate on the criminal justice system, Garda reform or Garda resources that it or Deputies deem appropriate.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. This represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018. Garda ICT was mentioned. It has had a multi-million investment. Deputy Mattie McGrath mentioned the Garda fleet. Some 300 new vehicles are coming on stream this year. Reaching a strength of 15,000 will require continued recruitment on a phased basis over the next three years. This Government is absolutely committed to reaching this goal.

I am again grateful to the Deputies for their positive consideration of this motion and I commend both motions to the House.

I thank the Minister. Is Deputy Sherlock pressing his amendment?

8 'oclock
Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 58; Staon, 2.

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Brady, John.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Stanley, Brian.

Níl

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Nolan, Carol.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Mick Barry and Sean Sherlock; Níl, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 21; Staon, 0.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • 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.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Brady, John.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Stanley, Brian.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Denise Mitchell.
Question declared carried.

I move:

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, 2019 and ending on 29th June, 2020.

Question put and declared carried.