Emergency legislation is necessary. It’s also necessary that it ends when the emergency ends.
You’ve probably heard that the government has introduced emergency powers to deal with the global pandemic. The legislation bans mass gatherings and allows the detention of people who are possible sources of COVID-19 and are refusing to self-isolate.
There is no doubt that these are extraordinary times which call for extraordinary measures.
But this time will pass. And when it does, we need to be sure that these powers will pass out of existence.
We released a statement on 17 March calling for a sunset clause. That’s a clause which would stipulate a date that the legislation would cease to exist.
We also sent our analysis of the legislation to all TDs and Senators before they debated it. Almost everyone who spoke mentioned the need for a sunset clause.
The government then amended the legislation so that it ends on 9 November 2020.
Rest assured, ICCL will be monitoring the situation very closely between now and then.
We will be here in the coming days, weeks and months to make sure that the emergency measures are proportionate, and that they are wound down when the emergency is over.
Because that’s what we do. We defend human rights, in the most challenging circumstances and when it is most needed.
Our freedom is fragile.