Special Criminal Court must go - SF

Sinn Féin TD Mr Aengus O Snodaigh has criticised as unsafe the conviction of a political associate who was jailed for “spying” on senior politicians in the 26 Counties.

Niall Binead was one of two men jailed for membership of the Provisional IRA at the non-jury Special Criminal Court last Friday. He has previously worked as a Sinn Féin election worker in the Dublin South Central constituency.

Garda police said they had found in a small briefcase in Mr Binead’s house a list written on cigarette paper which was headed “Politicians”, detailing sightings of prominent politicians. It was described as “an IRA document”.

Unionists this week claimed an “IRA spy ring” is operating in Dublin.

Deputy O Snodaigh said the conviction “mirrored the worst excesses of the Diplock Court system in the Six Counties”.

Deputy O Snodaigh said there was “huge outrage and anger” that once again “we have seen people convicted of IRA membership, not on any evidence, but on the word of a Garda Superintendent.

“This case should never have gone before the Special Criminal Court in the first place and it is incredible that during the case secret evidence was given to the Judge, which was not disclosed to the defence.”

Mr O Snodaigh said his party had consistently raised the issue of emergency powers “and indeed the abuse of emergency powers. It is worth noting that ten years into the peace process, we have seen at least some progress in the north on the issue of criminal justice but we have seen no progress in the south.

“The Special Criminal Court is entirely unacceptable and should be closed down.”

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