Justice hits the election agenda

Controversial Fianna Fáil plans to allow the evidence of a Garda Superintendent to help convict someone of gangland offences have been sharply criticised.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan have slapped down the plans proposed by Fianna Fáil's Justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan.

Mr O'Callaghan said the evidence of a Chief Superintendent should be regarded as admissible. This, he said, would overcome the issue of witnesses being too frightened to give evidence in these cases. he believes the constitution is flexible to allow for this legislation but a referendum could also be held if it was required.

Mr Varadkar and Mr Charlie Flanagan rejected calls for garda opinions to be allowed to help prosecute criminals.
The Taoiseach said: “They [gardai] say to me that they have adequate laws. We don't need a new law against murder or new law against drug dealing or a new law against directing a criminal organization because those things are already against the law.”

Mr Flanagan went further and called the Fianna Fáil proposals “ill-thought out”. While agreeing he may examine them, he added: “If it's constitutional, we can have a look at it. But this isn't the first time these questions have been asked.”
Meanwhile, Sinn Fáin has departed from its policy to abolish the Special Criminal Court and now says the non-jury court should instead be put under review. Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said the court was "not unproblematic" but said it would put its existence under review, rather than outright abolish it, if in government.


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