Alan Shatter, Fine Gael candidate in Dublin Rathdown, today (Thursday) issued a public challenge to Shane Ross to explain why, in June 2011 and subsequently, he voted against the continuing use of the Special Criminal Court where the DPP fears jury intimidation.
Shatter said “I am calling on Shane Ross to publicly debate with me the issue of the use of the Special Criminal Court in trials of gangland members where the DPP fears that a jury could be intimidated and jury members and their families put at risk.
“In the outgoing Dáil, between 2011 and 2015, Shane Ross voted against the continued use of the Special Criminal Court in the trials of gangland members, along with Sinn Féin and other Independents. He most recently opposed the continued use of the Court in a Dáil vote in June 2015. He has never explained, on the Dáil record why, since 2011, he has voted with Sinn Féin on this issue, nor has he explained this to the people of Dublin Rathdown.
“This is a matter of huge concern to me. The need for the continued use of the Special Criminal Court was starkly illustrated by the two horrific murders perpetrated by warring drug gangs in Dublin in the past seven days. An Garda Síochána view the Court as vital to ensure that gangland members are brought to justice.
“I believe that members of the public and their families should be protected from the possibility of being required to serve on a jury in the trial of a member of a criminal gang where jury intimidation is feared and I believe that voters in Dublin Rathdown should be aware of Shane Ross’s voting record on the issue before they go to the polls on 26th February.
“I am aware that Shane Ross has refused to take part in a live debate with me on one major national current affairs programme. I am calling on him to come clean on his voting record and to publicly debate with me his opposition from June 2011 to the continued use of the Special Criminal Court.
“It is not good enough that he simply responds to media queries claiming, as has been reported, that he is ‘one of the strongest supporters of the Special Criminal Court in the Oireachtas’. Such a claim is totally contradicted by his voting record.
“I believe that truth, honesty and integrity are the qualities that voters are entitled to expect in their elected representatives and they are entitled to know their views on important issues including public safety and law and order. I stand over my record in voting for the continuation of the Special Criminal Court. Can Shane Ross stand over his? It is time that he came out of hiding to debate this important issue.”