Flanagan should publish details of Justice agreement with Sinn Féin
Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has said that the comments today by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan that Fine Gael would rule out a post election deal with Sinn Fein cannot be taken seriously as he has been content to negotiate and agree policy proposals in recent weeks when it suited him.
The full details of the agreement that allowed the Judicial Appointments Bill to be passed should now be published including the type of crimes SF want sentencing guidelines for, and whether it includes terrorism, organised crime and the remit of the Special Criminal Court.
Deputy Howlin said:
“The Minister for Justice happily did a deal with Sinn Féin on the Judicial Appointments bill to get it through the Dáil. We still don’t know the full details of the policy agreement, and the Minister should publish all correspondence and minutes of meetings, and what was agreed with Sinn Féin on sentencing guidelines so that the opposition can fully consider it.
“Fine Gael were more than happy to deal and negotiate with Sinn Féin on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill to keep their government together and satisfy the demands of Minister Shane Ross, despite misgivings of FG backbenchers.
“If Minister Flanagan is agreeing with Sinn Féin the type of instructions and guidelines that judges will use to sentence criminals, whether for terrorism or other offences we deserve to know the details of those discussions, including if the remit of the Special Criminal Court was raised as part of the negotiations.
“Despite major misgivings from Fine Gael backbenchers about the judicial reforms, the senior party figures continued with it to ensure they remained in power. It is evident that when a similar prospect presents itself with Sinn Féin that any previously voiced opposition and principles will be allowed lapse and that senior FG Ministers will be more than willing to negotiate a power sharing agreement.
“Since the appointment of a new leader in Sinn Féin we’ve seen the two parties come closer together most notably in the voting pact on the recent Seanad election.
“It is clear that Fine Gael is more than happy to do business with Sinn Féin, to pass laws, and also to elect their candidates.
“The Minister for Justice should now be upfront and open about what he has specifically agreed on the Judicial Appointments Bill.”