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Lyra McKee murder and parcel bomb plot given as reasons for two special 'Omagh laws' being renewed again

Dissident republican threat and gangland crime are to be given as reasons for two special laws being renewed.

The parcel bomb discovered at an An Post centre in Limerick in March.
The parcel bomb discovered at an An Post centre in Limerick in March.
Image: An Garda Síochána

DUE TO THE ongoing threat of dissident republicans and gangland crime, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will today seek to renew two legal provisions which were first introduced in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing. 

The minister is expected to highlight developments on both sides of the border – including the killing of Lyra McKee last month, the car bombing in Derry last July and ongoing Garda operations targeting terrorists which have resulted in the seizure of explosives, firearms and ammunition.

Flanagan intends to remind his Cabinet colleagues of the incendiary devices which were posted to Britain from Ireland in March.

He will also tell Cabinet today that the threat level in Northern Ireland continues to be assessed as severe and that the dissident republican threat also remains the greatest threat to the security of this State.

The renewal of provisions of the Offences Against the State Act 1998 and Criminal Justice Act 2009 are made on an annual basis.

Because of their exceptional nature, the provisions are required to be examined annually and, should the government agree the measures are still necessary, the minister will bring motions before the Oireachtas.

Drogheda feud

In making his case, the minister will also brief his government colleagues on the ongoing efforts by the gardaí to tackle a number of criminal gangs in the State, including the ongoing feud between rival gangs of organised criminals in Dublin and Drogheda.

A government source said the case can be made that these legal provisions are more important this year than ever before. 

Cabinet will today be asked to approve to move the Oireachtas resolutions to renew the “exceptional” measures.

The two laws were first introduced in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing and a serious gangland threat in Limerick in order to give the State extensive powers to tackle terrorism and organised crime.

The Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998 contains a number of anti-terrorism provisions including the offences of directing an unlawful organisation, training persons in the making and use of firearms and withholding of information.

The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 came into force on 23 July 2009 and allows for certain serious organised crime offences are to be tried in the Special Criminal Court unless the DPP directs otherwise.

The offences in question are directing a criminal organisation, participating in or contributing to the activities of a criminal organisation, committing an offence for a criminal organisation and such offences when committed by bodies corporate.

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