Conway and Mulqueen on Gangland
HrinI blogger Vicky Conway and Michael Mulqueen of UL have recently published “The 2009 Anti-Gangland Package: Ireland’s New Security Blanket?” in the Irish Criminal Law Journal. The introduction to the article gives a flavour of the insightful analysis it offers:
Between January 2009 and the Dáil summer recess, the Irish government introduced six Bills in response to the problem of organised crime, which had already been linked, in media coverage, to the deaths of 15 people that year. In the previous decade multiple Acts and Amendment Acts had attempted to address the problem which, in political and media discourse, appeared to grow since the killings of Veronica Guerin and Det. Garda Gerry McCabe in the summer of 1996. With each year, the government introduced wider powers and tougher laws. The 2009 package of legislative measures represents a significant leap forward in this trend, not least through its scheduling of organised crime offences; this creates a legal requirement for the use of the non-jury Special Criminal Court in any such trials, an unprecedented step for non-paramilitary activity. Many experts and legal practitioners have predicted that at least two of the laws that comprise the package will be challenged in Irish and possibly European courts. In this article we examine the context for the introduction of the 2009 laws and difficulties which emerge from them, both in terms of the rights they potentially breach and their likelihood of success. Of particular concern to us is how the package of measures represents an underlying shift towards viewing gangland crime as a problem of national security – a shift which risks creating a myriad of further problems. Our conclusion is that not only will the package not succeed in reducing gangland crime, by moving the State further into the realm of emergency law, the package places Ireland on a very dangerous precipice for any democratic state committed to human rights.
The ICLJ is available to read on Westlaw IE for those with a subscription.