JUSTICE Minister Charlie Flanagan has said he’s “anxious” for progress on introducing a law to block killers or their estates benefiting from their crime.
His remarks came as the government came under pressure from Fianna Fáil to accelerate the Bill known as ‘Celine’s Law’ and another law aimed at bringing in tougher parole rules.
The private members bill – dubbed ‘Celine’s Law’ after production company owner Celine Cawley was killed by her husband Eamonn Lillis -was tabled by Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan two years ago.
It came after Lillis, despite being convicted of manslaughter, maintained he was entitled to ownership of assets he jointly held with his wife, including homes in Dublin and France.
Lillis ultimately won the right to a 50pc share of Irish assets following a High Court ruling. However, a French court found he had no right to a share in the home in France.
The Government hasn’t opposed Mr O’Callaghan’s Bill but it has languished in the legislative process.
Independent.ie reported that there was no plans to prioritise it, even after calls from Clodagh Hawe’s mother and sister for changes to succession laws last week.
Their pleas came amid fears Mr Hawe’s estate stands to benefit after he transferred family funds to his own account.
He took his own life after brutally murdering Clodagh (39) and sons Liam (14), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) at their home near Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, in August 2016.
Speaking in the Dáil Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Civil Liability (Amendment) (Prevention of Benefits from Homicide) Bill 2017 needs to be prioritised.
He also said the his party’s separate Parole Bill should also be implemented.
He said that at present a prisoner can apply for parole after seven years and the Bill proposes to raise this to 12 years.
Mr Martin said the parents and family of murdered Rachel O’Reilly are “particularly anxious about this.”
Her husband Joe O’Reilly was jailed after being convicted of the infamous 2004 murder.
Mr Flanagan replied to Mr Martin saying he accepted the importance of his points and agreed with him.
He said: “Government is on record as accepting the principle of both pieces of legislation…
“Now that the Brexit legislation has been settled, hopefully passed over the next few days, I have a number of amendments on both of these pieces of legislation that I would be keen to sign off on.”
He said: “I’m very anxious to advance both pieces of legislation.”
The Oireachtas Justice Committee is due to discuss their planned scrutiny of ‘Celine’s Law’ tomorrow morning.
Committee chairman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said TDs and Senators intend to finalise a list of witnesses to take part in their debate on the legislation tomorrow.
He said he hoped the committee can schedule an early date for the meeting.