Wednesday, 16 May 2018
Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Bill 2017: Committee Stage
I am interested in the fact that the Minister quoted the Constitution and referred to incapacity by law. This covers our amendment. There is clearly an incapacity by law where somebody has been judged by a court to have no moral compass whatever. One rotten apple can spoil a whole barrel. Do we really want people without a moral compass in Seanad Éireann or Dáil Éireann? I will go a little further. I understand, albeit the Minister may be able to clarify the point, that people convicted of murder can stand for Parliament. People convicted of child sexual abuse can stand for Parliament. I do not think they should be able to either. They should be excluded from the political process and that should be part of the attitude we take to these very serious offences. Do we want murderers and child sex abusers to have this capacity? I am usually pretty left wing but on this I am fairly right wing. I would also change "may" to "shall". The court should impose this sanction on someone convicted of corruption. I ask the Minister to think again and to reflect further on the matter, on the basis that incapacity by law can also be interpreted to include someone with no moral compass whatever and who has been so found by a court of law.