Former High Court and Court of Appeal judge Michael Peart will chair the review of the Special Criminal Court.

The Special Criminal Court was set up in 1972 during the Troubles and hears cases involving terrorism and organised crime. 

Governments have argued that it is necessary to combat intimidation of jurors. 

The legislation underpinning the court is renewed every year in the Oireachtas. 

Sinn Féin has always criticised the Special Criminal Court and has opposed the renewal of the legislation. 

Last June, then justice minister Charlie Flanagan told the Dáil that the Department of Justice was undertaking a scoping exercise in order to bring forward proposals to review the legislation. 

On that basis, Sinn Féin abstained on the issue. 

The court has been criticised by various human rights groups including the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, which says it denies constitutional and human rights. 

The legislation was previously reviewed in 2002 by a committee chaired by Judge Anthony Hederman. 


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Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is understood to be firmly of the view that the Offences Against the State Act and the Special Criminal Court have served the State well in tackling subversives and organised crime and have long been a necessary part of the State's arsenal in this regard. 

However, the minister believes it is important to occasionally review such important legislation.