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62 N. Ir. Legal Q. 249 (2011)
Shielding the State of Emergency: Organised Crime in Ireland and the State's Response

handle is hein.journals/nilq62 and id is 255 raw text is: NILQ 62(3): 249-67

Shielding the state of emergency: organised
crime in Ireland and the state's response
School of Law, University College Dublin
In July 2009, after consulting the Council of State, President Mary McAleese signed the
Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (CJAA 2009) into Irish law without referring it
to the Supreme Court under Article 26 of the Irish Constitution for an anticipatory test of
its constitutionality.2 As much maligned as it was welcomed, the CJAA 2009 introduced
wide-ranging powers to deal with organised crime including prolonged periods of
detention,3 trials in front of the non-jury Special Criminal Court4 and the creation of the
offence of membership of a criminal gang.5
At a time when concern about organised crime had reached unprecedented levels in the
public and media domains in Ireland,6 such measures were considered by many as necessary
to tackle effectively the actions of persons and organisations engaged in serious criminal
activity. Others considered the CJAA) 2009 to be of such a draconian nature that Ireland was
being transformed into a police state and shamed in the eyes of the international
community.7 The purpose of this paper is not to analyse or prophesise on the effectiveness
of the CJAA 2009 in tackling the problem of organised crime; rather what will be explored
is the political and legal correlation between the Act and the means by which states react to
1   PhD Candidate and holder of the UCD School of Law Doctoral Scholarship: alan.greencl cucdconnect.com.
I would like to thank Professor Sall) Wheeler and the editorial board of the Northern Ireland I-aelQuart  for
their comments on earlict drafts of thtis paper and Dr Fiona dc Londras, UCD School of Law for her
invaluable contribution.
2   Under Article 26 of the Irish Constitution, the President may refer a Bill to the Supreme Court to test its
constitutionality before it is signed into law See R Byrne and JP McCutcheon, I6e Irih I4galystem 4th edn
(Dublin: LcxisNexis Buttcrworths 2002), para. 5.71-5.
3   S. 16 amends s. 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999 increasing the penalty for jury and witness intimidation
from 10 years to 15 years. The offence of directing a criminal organisation undcr s. 5 may be punishabk by
life imprisonment and the offence of participating in or contributing to certain activities under s. 6 may be
pumshable by up to 15 years' imprisonrmcnt.
4   S. 8(1).
5   S. 5 amends s. 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 to create the offence of directing a criminal organisation.
S. 6 amends s. 72 of the Criminal _Justice -Act 2006 and mnakes it an offence to participate in or contribute to
certain activities which are subsequently outlined.
6   See L Campbell, Responding to gun crime in Ireland (2010) 50 Brtirh fournalo/ Crminology 414, p. 417.
7   Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill, Irih Timei, Dublin, 8 July 2009.

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