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Thursday 20 September 2018

Sinn Fein branded 'out of touch' over non-jury courts

Freddie Thompson
Freddie Thompson

Sinn Fein has come in for stinging criticism due to its unclear position on the Special Criminal Court (SCC).

Fianna Fail justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan has accused the rival party of being "out of touch" with the devastating impact of gangland crime if it still doesn't support the existence of the court.

Sinn Fein has previously called for the abolition of the non-jury court, which holds the trials of terrorists and gangsters.

However, recent remarks by Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald have added confusion.

She welcomed the conviction in the SCC of gangland murderer Freddie Thompson and said Sinn Fein "support all of the courts" when challenged on whether her party still wants to scrap it.

However, she voiced concerns over due process and said there needs to be a discussion with the judiciary and other stakeholders about non-jury courts.

Mr O'Callaghan said her remarks weren't very clear.

"I still don't know from her comments whether Sinn Fein is in favour of or opposed to the Special Criminal Court," he said.

He argued Sinn Fein has refused to accept the existence of the SCC as it would "conflict with its deeply misleading narrative of what happened during the Troubles in Ireland".

Trauma

He said such acceptance by Sinn Fein would mean acknowledging "members of the Provisional IRA were legitimately imprisoned for murder and other criminal acts".

Mr O'Callaghan said if Sinn Fein has changed its policy on the SCC he would welcome it.

"If there is no change in policy then Sinn Fein is out of touch with the trauma gangland crime has heaped on communities like Dublin's north inner city," he said.

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