[Sinn Fein]

21 November 2002

`Budget 2003 must invest in justice for all' - Ó Snodaigh


Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice, Equality, Human Rights, International Affairs and Defense, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has outlined Sinn Fein proposals in these areas for Budget 2003. 

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``Earlier this year, the Joseph Rowntree Report found significant inequality in access to justice for deprived communities in Ireland. Sinn Fein believes that everyone has an equal right to justice and to security in their own communities, and so we are calling for Budget 2003 to begin a programme of reevaluation of aspects of the present justice system, and of investment in justice for all.

``Where the Government proposes cuts to prisoner education and welfare services and legal aid programs - breaking Program for Government commitments in the process - Sinn Fein calls for adequate funding for these services, to ensure that all have equal access to adequate legal representation, and to get and keep people out of prison, and leading productive lives.

``Sinn Fein calls for the institution of a positive immigration policy that recognises the economic potential of immigrant-driven economies, and challenges the widespread myth that immigrants are a drain on public resources.

``In contrast with the proposed, highly anomalous 85% increase in the Secret Service Vote, we are calling for its elimination. We want these monies redeployed in areas of critical need, such as the establishment of comprehensive programmes to eliminate domestic and sexual violence and abuse. 

``We want Budget 2003 to invest in the process of eradicating this pervasive problem in Irish society.

``Given that Ireland is now the fourth richest state, we insist that there can be no deviation from the stated commitment to meet the UN Official Development Assistance target of 0.7% of GNP. Ireland must share its new wealth both locally and globally. We support the Dóchas proposals for commitment to multi-annual incremental increases, beginning with an increase to 0.48% this year.

``Finally, in keeping with our stated concerns to safeguard Irish neutrality, we are calling for no hidden spending on militarisation and no hidden cuts to peacekeeping in Budget 2003.''

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