Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has confirmed there are plans for a review of the Offences Against the State Act, and emergency legislation used to prosecute subversive groups and gangland cases.
The confirmation justice authorities are preparing to review the special security legislation comes after the Greens and Sinn Fein both indicated support for a court with special powers is still needed.
Both those parties have now relaxed their opposition to the act and laws underpinning the special criminal court on the basis that some kind of review of its functions goes ahead.
Speaking to the Dail earlier, Mr Flanagan signalled that this review, with the next government, would be forthcoming:
“I want to make clear that I am not averse to a review of this legislation. Indeed, far from it, as will become clear in the months ahead. Deputies will be aware of the intensive work taking place to implement the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
“That root and branch blueprint for policing includes a comprehensive review of security legislation. Work is ongoing in my Department to bring forward that review and the Offences Against the State legislation will, of course, be part of it, including the provisions before us today.” While Mr Flanagan called on parties to remove amendments to the yearly renewal of the Offences Against the State Act, debated in the Dail today, others voiced concerns about human breaches with the existence of the current special criminal court regime.
Rise TD Paul Murphy said the existing laws for the court, without a jury, were a breach of “civil liberties and human rights”. He, TD Brid Smith and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said the house should also take heed of warnings about the emergency powers from the likes of the United Nations as well as the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.