Dáil debates

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Criminal Justice (Smuggling of Persons) Bill 2021 [Seanad]: Committee Stage (Resumed)


9:47 pm

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I thank Deputy Connolly for tabling this amendment and bringing the focus of the House to bear on this issue. I listened closely to the Minister of State's explanation. I do not think anybody is arguing that we do not need to prosecute people smugglers. However, I find it hard to be convinced by the Minister of State's argument that if somebody from Lybia, for example, claims to be part of a humanitarian organisation, the State may not be able to disprove that. Certainly, somebody is being tried and has met the threshold the Minister of State described at the DPP's office for membership of an international terrorist organisation and for activities in that regard in the Middle East. The threshold for prosecution has been met. Indeed, they are being prosecuted in the Special Criminal Court because the organisation of which it is alleged they are a member is so pervasive in this State, it seems, that the State apparatus is unable to try them in the normal courts. That came as a surprise to me, but the DPP does not have to explain these decisions and they cannot be challenged in court. The State, therefore, has some ability to investigate and prosecute crimes abroad and to verify certain facts. I was involved in a citizenship revocation case once and I was shocked by the amount of information that was presented that the Department of Justice, the Minister of State's Department, had received from what was then another member state of the European Union. The State, therefore, has some intelligence abroad and has access to intelligence abroad so is in a position to meet that burden or proof that somebody is not a bona fide member of a humanitarian organisation.

However, how does this Lybian the Minister of State is so concerned about prove - and it is always these Lybians and north Africans and these people who cannot be trusted-----


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