25 June 2009 Edition

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Ó Snodaigh opposes renewal of Offences Against the State Act

Aengus  Ó Snodaigh

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

SINN FÉIN Justice  Spokesperson  Aengus  Ó Snodaigh TD has opposed the renewal of the Offences Against the State Act in the Dáil.
 Ó  Snodaigh said no emergency exists that could possibly warrant what he described  as  the  ‘draconian  measures’ included in the Bill.  He also criticised the use of British agents provocateurs to perpetuate conflict on the island.
Speaking in the Dáil Ó Snodaigh said: “Once again I am imploring all Deputies to consider  the  highly  corrosive  effect  of  this  legislation on human rights, democratic life and the safety and wellbeing of citizens in this state before voting today.
“As we discuss this motion today, the spectre of paramilitary violence – criminal and sectarian violence – still hangs over our society.  We have seen  the  fatal consequences of that with the brutal battering to death only  three weeks ago of Kevin McDaid in Coleraine – someone who has not been  mentioned  to  date.   Others  have  mentioned the killing of PSNI officer,  Constable  Stephen  Carroll,  and  two  British soldiers, Mark Quinsey  and  Patrick  Azimkar,  and  the ongoing criminal feuds in this, state  using  high-powered  weapons and explosives. Another matter that has not been mentioned in this House for a long time is the manoeuvrings of the British secret services on this island.

AGENTS PROVOCATEURS
It is quite clear to all that  elements  of  Britain’s  intelligence  service  are running agents provocateurs  in these organisations.  I call on the British Government, as a partner in the Peace Process, to call its dogs to heel and declare that  the  provocative  actions  of  its  agents  in these dissident and loyalist  groups  are  contrary  to  the  Peace  Process  and perpetuate conflict on this island.
“The  UN  fundamental  human  rights instruments to which this State has signed  up make it very clear that fundamental rights protections may be derogated from only in times of emergency.  No such emergency that could possibly warrant these draconian legislative measures exists.
 “It   is   not  only  our  international  commitments  that  necessitate opposition  to  the motion before us today but also the Government’s own  obligations  under the Good Friday Agreement.  The Good Friday Agreement places  the  onus  on  the Government to deliver security normalisation.
 Hence,  scrapping the Offences against the State Acts is a pressing goal for  all  in  this  House.  The provisions up for renewal and indeed the Offences against  the State Acts in their entirety have no place in the present or future of this island.
“If  this  government  was  really  serious about tackling serious crime would  they continue with their plans to savagely cut the budgets of the local  drugs  task  forces  who  are tasked with reducing demand for the illegal  trade that gives rise to so much gangland violence?  The voting public  took  this  question on board when they cast their votes earlier this  month.   The government’s efforts to dupe them failed.  The public will  not  simply  accept  at  face  value  the  Government’s repeatedly announced populist proposals rather they are demanding real action.
“I  urge  the  house  to  vote against the renewal motion and demand the government  properly resource the agencies involved in the fight against serious crime.”

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