Minister seeks renewal of acts to combat terrorism

The Minister for Justice will seek Cabinet approval today to renew the Offences Against the State Act and the 2009 Criminal Justice Act for a further year.

Minister Heather Humphreys will tell Government colleagues there remains a real and persistent threat of terrorist activity, from so-called ‘dissident’ republican paramilitary groups.

The minister is also mindful of the threat from international terrorism.

There is currently an independent review of the Offences Against the State Acts taking place.

The review, which is the first of kind for 20 years, commenced in March and an interim report is expected this month.

The Programme for Government commits to annually renew the Offences Against the State Act 1998 and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009.

The Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 was enacted in the aftermath of the bombing at Omagh.

It legislated for offences that included directing an unlawful organisation, training persons in the making and use of firearms and withholding of information.

The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 was enacted in July 2009 to put in place measures to tackle organised crime

This included the holding of trials for serious organised crime offences at the Special Criminal Court.

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