Amnesty International says ending the death penalty in Ireland would contribute to its abolition in other jurisdictions.

Speaking at Trinity College Dublin Professor Winston Nagan, chairman of the US branch of Amnesty International said Ireland could set a good example by abolishing the death penalty.

In April 1989, Amnesty International launched its international campaign against the death penalty. In that month alone, 251 executions took place in six different countries. 

In various places all over the world, people are still being legally hung, shot, gassed, and electrocuted.

The death penalty has been completely abolished in just thirty four countries. 

Ireland retains the death penalty on the statute books for a small number crimes including treason and the murder of a Garda or prison officer in the course of duty. 

Professor Nagan describes how in the US capital punishment tends to be used against those living on the margins of society like the poor. 

It's the underclass that is most likely to find itself on death row.

He believes that if Ireland took the step to completely abolish the death penalty, this could have a very important impact in the US which has a very large Irish ethnic population.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 August 1989. The reporter is Tom Kelly.