6 November 2002
Urgent need for new Interim Barring Order law - Ó Snodaigh
Following the Taoiseach's statement yesterday, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has expressed disbelief that it took almost a whole month for the Department of Justice to receive the Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Keating v. Crowley. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
"We all know there is an urgent need for changes to the legislation regarding interim barring orders - to make them Constitutional, and to allow the resumption of adequate interim protection of people facing violence in the home. I have been raising this issue in the Dáil on a weekly basis since the Supreme Court judgment. My colleague Seán Crowe has raised this matter separately with the Minister for Justice. Up to yesterday we had been assured that this matter was receiving Óurgent attention'. However, when I raised it again yesterday, the Taoiseach was more equivocal.
"I asked the Taoiseach when we could expect the amending legislation, because I was attending the launch of the Dublin 12 Domestic Violence Help-line Referral Service, and I wanted to bring them good news if possible. The Taoiseach replied that in fact the full judgment had only just been received - almost a month later. He further said that while amending the legislation Ómay be required' that the Government would wait to make that decision until they get additional legal advice.
"This is just not good enough. The current limbo situation leaves many women at risk of abuse or even death at the hands of their partners. We need a solution immediately. We needed it a month ago. I have been getting panicked calls at my advice clinic every since the judgment. What does the Taoiseach say to the women at risk who now cannot get an interim barring order? What does he say to those whose abusive partners have had their interim barring orders overturned and have returned to terrorise them in their homes, or threatened to do so? These are the people this Government must answer to. I only hope that no fatalities result from the Government's failure to deal with this urgently."
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