Government approves renewal of  Special Criminal Court

Government approves renewal of  Special Criminal Court

A general view of the judge's chairs in the Special Criminal Court. Picture: Niall Carson

The Government has today agreed to renew the Special Criminal Court.

Cabinet gave approval for justice minister Heather Humphreys to move Oireachtas resolutions to renew certain provisions contained in the Offences Against the State Act 1998 and the Criminal Justice Act 2009, including the jury-free court, "aimed at tackling the threats posed by terrorism and organised crime".

The provision of yesterday's decision states that certain serious organised-crime offences are to be tried in the Special Criminal Court unless the DPP directs otherwise.

The legislation requires that the provisions must be renewed by the Oireachtas at specified intervals. Unless resolutions are passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas before June 30, 2021, the provisions will expire.

"These laws are in place to protect and safeguard the State from those who are determined to undermine it and its democratic institutions," said Ms Humphreys.

Separately, Cabinet also agreed on a Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme for artists, as part of the Government’s recovery plan. 

Arts minister Catherine Martin announced the pilot scheme as part of a recovery package including tens of millions of euro in ongoing support.

Next step, I bring forward a proposal for the Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme, working with the Department of Social Protection," she said.

A further part of the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan saw housing minister Darragh O’Brien announce an extension of the commercial rates waiver for an additional three months, covering July to September.

Businesses currently eligible will continue to be eligible for the waiver for the third quarter. Automatic eligibility applies to retail, hospitality, personal services, health services, and various other categories.

The €66m allocated to education as part of the plan was welcomed by education minister Norma Foley.

The funding will be allocated across two projects; supporting high-speed broadband in all primary schools, and funding interventions to address the digital divide, through both ICT infrastructure and digital devices.

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