[Sinn Fein]

3rd February 2003

Sinn Fein TD critical of new Terrorist Offences Bill

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice and Equality Aengus Ó Snodaigh has criticised efforts by the coalition Government to fast-track the new Terrorist Offences Bill through the Dáil claiming that it is a "long, complex and highly problematic piece of legislation" that deserves "careful consideration". Deputy Ó Snodaigh also questioned how it is possible to rush through this piece of legislation when there are other priorities such as education, housing and the protection of children needing urgent attention.

The Dublin South Central TD said: "The new Terrorist Offences Bill is a long, complex and highly problematic piece of legislation that was only published on the last sitting day of the Dáil before Christmas. It has now been uncharacteristically fast-tracked for a second stage hearing this week.

"This Bill has serious implications for human rights and civil liberties in Ireland. It needs careful consideration and should not be rushed through the Dáil.

"In terms of issues that need urgent attention the Government would be better focused on bringing forward legislation they already promised like the Education (Disabilities) Bill or a bill to ratify the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children or indeed the long promised and sorely needed Housing (Private Rented Sector) Bill. That they are choosing to force through the Terrorist Offences Bill in double quick time ahead of all else shows how detached this government has become from the people and the issues that most affect their lives.

"Sinn Fein will oppose this bill and will challenge its fast-tracking when the Dáil resumes on tomorrow (Tuesday 4th January)." ENDS

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