[Sinn Fein]

17th June 2003

Ó Snodaigh calls for end to Justice Ministers stealth bills

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for the Minister for Justice to end his practice of introducing ``stealth bills'' that bypass second stage debate. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``Last week the Minister tried to introduce controversial extradition measures as amendments to an entirely unrelated bill that had already been fully debated in the Dáil. Now I have just received a package of 32 pages of mostly unrelated proposed amendments to the controversial Immigration (Carrier Liability) Bill. These amendments look set to be even more problematic, including enhanced Garda powers of search and entry and powers of extended detention and fingerprinting of asylum applicants. These proposals have nothing to do with carrier liability and cannot be construed as mere amendments to that bill. They are substantive proposals with implications for human rights and civil liberties in this state as well as Ireland's international obligations and - much as this Minister scorns what he calls `rights culture' - these proposals deserve full and open debate as they would receive if he introduced them as a separate bill.

``This Minister has now established a modus operandi whereby he attempts to stifle public debate by bypassing second stage debate in the Dáil on controversial legislative proposals. This practice is undemocratic and unacceptable and it must end immediately.''

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