Taoiseach Micheál Martin has labeled Sinn Féin “slow learners” after the party dropped its opposition to non-jury courts for the first time yesterday.
Speaking in Kildare, the Taoiseach said he was reminded of former SDLP leader Seamus Mallon’s quote about ‘slow learners’ when he heard Sinn Féin planned to end their opposition to non-jury courts.
The Taoiseach said: “I mean how long does it take to realise that you need non-jury courts to deal with terrorists and armed criminal gangs who really have the capacity to intimidate juries?”
“We know that and these armed gangs are very, very dangerous to the fabric of our society.”
This comes as Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheis voted in favour of a motion stating that non-jury trials operated by the Special Criminal Court would continue to be used should the party be in Government.
However, the party said the court should only be used in “exceptional circumstances”.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny said the legislation underpinning the Special Criminal Court was “used in the past for political convenience in times of conflict against republicans”.
IMAGE – “Dáil Éireann – Election of Taoiseach” by House of the Oireachtas (CCBY2.0)