With its abandonment of the principle that there is no room in a democratic society for a non jury court system, the party is subscribing to the very same authoritarian outlook epitomised by Fine Gael and indeed by its coalition partner Fianna Fail.
The oft repeated and disingenuous claim that abolishing the human right to trial by a jury of one’s peers is necessary to prevent intimidation of jurors is frankly a fabrication. It is a misleading fiction because there are many ways to protect against intimidation of jurors. Actually, a Sinn Fein spokesperson virtually admitted this during the ard-fheis debate while then calling for a vote to endorse the non-jury Special Criminal Court system.
The real reason for introducing non-jury trials is not to protect jurors but, as in the Six Counties, to guarantee a conviction sought by the state, in reality the deep state. Nor can Sinn Fein hide behind its ‘get into jail clause’ that this measure will only be used in exceptional circumstances. The Irish people have listened to this rationale for every Coercion Act that has been introduced over the centuries. Who by the way, will decide on what are exceptional ‘circumstances’? Will it be a call by Mary Lou and Gerry Kelly, or the Chief Constable sorry Garda Commissioner or a committee selected from the golfing fraternity of the Oireachtas Golf Society meeting in Clifden, County Galway?
Well, whatever, we have been here before and can recognise a U-turn when we see one. The point is, vote Sinn Fein if you want Blueshirt style government just don’t be fooled into thinking you’re voting for change.
Clr Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig, An Gaeltachta, Dún na nGall.