Dáil can pass emergency legislation on suspended sentences within days, says Taoiseach

Dáil can pass emergency legislation on suspended sentences within days, says Taoiseach

Update 12.03pm: Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that he has spoken to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Ms Fitzgerald and Attorney General Maire Whelan about the recent court ruling on suspended sentences, writes Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner Political Editor.

Replying to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, Mr Kenny said the Department of Justice was in consultation with the Attorney General’s office relating to the implications of the decision.

“The implications of the judgement do need to be carefully considered so we can respond effectively,’’ he added.

Earlier: The Taoiseach has promised that emergency legislation to amend laws around suspended sentences can be brought before the Dáil within days, if necessary.

A raft of test cases are expected before the courts after the High Court ruled yesterday that the 2006 law which allows the instant activation of a suspended sentence was unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice is consulting with the Attorney General.

Enda Kenny said that if emergency legislation is needed, it will be brought in.

“The necessary action is going to be taken quickly to address the issues raised by Judge Moriarty’s judgement, and if necessary, Ceann Comhairle, amending legislation can be introduced into the House here very quickly, if necessary within days, despite the fact that you don’t have the endorsement of a new Government,” he said.

Acting Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald echoed the Taoiseach's position.

“The consequences and implications of Justice Moriarty’s judgment have been under urgent examination in consultation with the Attorney General,” a statement from Minister Fitzgerald read.

“As the issues in question are likely to lead to court challenges it would not be appropriate to make detailed comment on the judgement.

“However, there are no grounds for believing that persons generally who had not raised this issue in the course of proceedings which have been concluded will now be able to benefit from the finding of the High Court.

“The Government will take all necessary action open to it to address the issues arising from Judge Moriarty’s judgement.

“While legislation cannot retrospectively affect criminal cases before the courts, if, in the light of the consultations with the Attorney General, it is concluded that amending legislation is necessary, this can be introduced in the Dáil very quickly – if necessary within days.”


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