Justice Bill Debate Extension Defeated

The Government has defeated an opposition attempt to extend debate on the controversial Criminal Justice Bill.

The hotly contested legislation is proposing sweeping changes and increased powers for Gardaí and the courts in dealing with gang crime that some feel has gone too far.

The bill is being rushed through the Dáil without the normal length of time for debate, amid accusations the Government is using the practice of "guillotining" to avoid rigorous discussion on the matter.

The opposition put forward a motion demanding more time be allotted to discuss the various measures it contains but the Government used its Dáil majority to secure a 76-61 vote in favour of the current timetable, which will see the debate end at 1.30pm.

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan told the House that there had already been ample discussion of the matter and the Government wanted the bill passed before the summer break.

The news comes shortly after over 100 lawyers demanded the immediate withdrawal of the controversial bill.

In a letter the Irish Times on Wednesday, the 133 defence and prosecution lawyers say they are "extremely concerned" about the latest plans from the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.


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