Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Bertie facing arrest under UK terror law?

Ahern is mine I've noticed that there has been quite a bit of concern of late over the controversial Terrorism Bill that attempts to stop people "glorifying" terrorism.

The House of Commons last week gave their support to the plan by 315 to 277.

I spotted maca's post wondering if this would cause hassle for the GAA but even more interestingly, Tom Griffin picked up on comments from Tory spokesman Dominic Grieve during the Bill debate who suggested that it could lead to the Taoiseach being arrested if he set foot on UK soil! Said Grieve:

"In April, the Taoiseach will lead the Irish nation in the celebration and praise of the Easter rising, and I defy the Home Secretary to persuade me or anybody else that that is not glorification within the scope of the law—incidentally, I emphasise that the Taoiseach has good reason to lead such a celebration. That topic is controversial in Ireland: some people see the Easter rising as a historical event that is worthy of commemoration because it was part of a period of national self-assertion, while others see it as a continuing call to arms—although a ceasefire has been declared in Northern Ireland, some individuals do not respect it.

"If the Taoiseach were to visit this country after that celebration, he would be in serious difficulty under the Bill as drafted—the Government want the Bill as it is drafted. He would have to accept that the celebration was not without controversy, because some people in Ireland say that it might encourage terrorism. Even under the subjective recklessness test, he would not be free of the possibility that his decision would be impugned. If the law were applied impartially, he would have to be jolly careful, because he is not subject to sovereign immunity when he visits this country, and I think that he would be liable to arrest and prosecution following that celebration.

"It is a classic example of the crassness of the Government's approach that they should end up with such a ludicrous state of affairs. The only protection that the Taoiseach or anybody else has is that the Government have smiled sweetly and said, "You need not worry, because the exercise of discretion in these matters will mean that no prosecution will actually be brought." That approach is simply ridiculous, when this House can craft legislation that makes sure that such nonsense does not happen and meets the Home Secretary's needs."

Yikes. That might set Anglo-Irish relations back a bit, eh? Then again, there might be a fair few people in the Republic who would actually be pretty pleased if something like this happened.

You're nicked!
Alright eh, I'll come quietly!

OK this scenario is highly unlikely but it just goes to show the difficulties that the British look set to face over this Bill.

There are already many difficulties associated with simply defining terrorism but now the British are going to have to figure out a definition as to what constitutes "glorifying" terrorism which will prove a tall order indeed.

It seems the British may have opened a big can of worms with this particular Bill.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.