I along with my colleagues in the Regional Group have confirmed it will facilitate the early passage of the Proceeds of Crime (Gross Human Rights Abuses) Bill 2020, which will make the Proceeds of Crime Acts more easily available to authorities to deal with cases where there are human rights abuses abroad.

The group has confirmed it will give up its private members slot on the 6th of April in favour of the Labour Party Bill.

Regional Group members are calling on the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice to expedite pre-legislative scrutiny in advance of 6th April for the committee and remaining stages of the Bill to take place.

The Regional Group stated that it “abhors human rights abuses and the expansionist actions of Russia and will endeavour in every way possible to continue to support to citizens of Ukraine”.

The group added: “Those who carry out human rights abuse must pay for their repulsive actions. One such way of doing this is for the Government and all opposition TDs to constructively work together and support the passage of this Bill without further delay.”

Currently, powers exist under the Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996 to 2016 to seize and dispose of assets against corrupt foreign officials who have assets within this State. However, the difficulty with the 1996 Act is that for it to apply, a dual criminality test needs to be satisfied whereby the conduct giving rise to the acquisition of those assets must be such that it would constitute an offence both under Irish law and under the law of the foreign state.

“We will also present a proposal to the Dáil Business Committee tomorrow morning seeking to facilitate an address by President Zelensky of the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas by video link, considering the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine”.

Last week, An Taoiseach stated in the Dáil that the Government would support the issuing of such an invitation. We have already discussed the proposal with the Ukrainian ambassador, and she has agreed to contact the President’s office directly, pending, the approval of the Oireachtas.

“We are hoping that we can secure cross-party and independent support to have both the legislation expeditated and President Zelensky invited to address the Oireachtas, showing the solidarity of the Irish people with the people of Ukraine”.