[Sinn Fein]

16th January 2003

Ó Snodaigh calls on Minister for Justice to directly incorporate European Convention on Human Rights into Irish law

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for the Minister for Justice to scrap the Government's present European Convention on Human Rights Bill and introduce a new bill incorporating the Convention directly into domestic law.

Speaking following the resumption of the Oireachtas Joint Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights Committee consultation process on the Bill, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``Legislative incorporation would make the Convention superior to ordinary laws but still subject to the Irish Constitution, and this is the approach Sinn Fein favours. It is crucially important that we get this legislation right ? for the sake of all Irish people, but particularly those who are discriminated against. Under the Bill currently in front of the Dáil Irish people would still have to travel all the way to Strasbourg to avail of an effective remedy under the Convention. This is neither fair nor right. I am also concerned that the current Bill would undermine the effectiveness of the new Human Rights Commission.

``I appeal to the Minister for Justice to heed the criticism that has been leveled by human rights groups and legal experts against the legislation as drafted, to scrap the bill in its present form, and table a new bill that directly incorporates the ECHR directly into Irish law. We cannot afford to accept anything less.''

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