Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

Proposed Legislation

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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448. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he will be tabling a motion to extend sections 2 to 4, 6 to 12, 14 and 17 of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998, which are due to expire on the 29 June 2020; if he will be tabling a motion to extend section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, which is due to expire on the 29 June 2020; when he will publish a report detailing the operation of these sections during the past 12 months as required by the Acts; when he expects to lay these reports before each House of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6148/20]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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The sections of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 that the Deputy refers to are significant legislative provisions aimed at combating terrorism and organised crime. As the Deputy is aware, if the relevant provisions are to remain in effect there is a statutory requirement to renew them before the end of June. 

The Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was enacted in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing.  Section 18 provides that the relevant sections of the Act shall cease to be in operation unless their continuance in force is approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas. 

The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 provides certain legislative measures to tackle organised crime.  Among those measures was section 8, which provides that certain organised crime offences are to be tried in the Special Criminal Court. Section 8(4) provides that the provision will cease to be in operation unless a resolution is passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas.  

Section 18(3) of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 Act and Section 8(6) of the and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 provide that, before a resolution for continuance is passed, the Minister for Justice and Equality shall prepare reports, which shall be laid before both Houses, on the operation of the relevant provisions in the period since the previous report. 

There remains a real and persistent threat from terrorist activity and organised crime as evidenced by the seizures of firearms, explosives and ammunition by An Garda Síochana and the most serious of cases brought before the Special Criminal Court. It is important that these provisions are renewed and it is my intention to seek their renewal and table the required motions before the Oireachtas.

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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449. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of legislative measures that expire in 2020 if a motion to extend them is not passed; the dates such legislation are due to expire in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6149/20]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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There are two pieces of legislation within the remit of my Department that expire in 2020 if a motion to extend is not passed:

Title Date of Expiration
Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 29 June 2020
Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 29 June 2020

Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998

Section 18 of the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998provides that the sections of the Act in question (2 to 4, 6 to 12, 14 and 17) shall cease to be in operation unless a Resolution has been passed by each House of the Oireachtas resolving that those sections should continue in operation. 

Since June 2000, the Houses of the Oireachtas have, by means of Resolution, renewed on an annual basis all the foregoing sections of act for a further period of 12 months on each occasion.  The most recent resolutions in this regard were approved by Dáil and Seanad Éireann in June 2019 and they provided for the continuance in operation of the relevant sections for a period of 12 months from 30 June 2019.

Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009

Section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009provides that it shall cease to be in operation unless a Resolution has been passed by each House of the Oireachtas resolving that it should continue in force for a period to be determined by the Oireachtas. 

Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann have passed such Resolutions on previous occasions, most recently to continue the provisions in operation for a period of 12 months from 30 June 2019.

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