Aontú’s “Custodial Sentence for Assaulting a Garda” Bill Passes First Stage in the Dáil
Today Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín successfully tabled a new Bill to the Dail that if enacted would provide for a minimum custodial sentence for those who physically assault a Garda or Health or an Emergency Service worker. The Bill passed first stage in the Dáil today.
Speaking today, Peadar Tóibín TD said “In an answer to a Parliamentary Question that we in Aontú received just in the last few weeks, we found out that 2,411 Gardaí have been assaulted while on active duty over the last 10 years. This is absolutely not acceptable that hundreds of Gardaí going about their service to the community would be assaulted. This is a terrifying figure for both Gardaí and their families. The Government must take steps to protect Gardaí while they are serving our community”
“In the last few weeks we have seen Gardaí have their hands bitten, having their cars rammed and being seriously assaulted in Ballyfermot. This is disgraceful. The Government have hung the Gardaí out to dry through years of under-resourcing and understaffing. According to a Eurostat report in 2016 Ireland had one of the smallest per capita police forces in the EU at 278 Garda for every 100,000 people. This was 40 police officers per 100,000 people less than the EU average. This leaves Gardaí vulnerable”.
“The most recent figure that I have received from the Department of Justice shows that there are now only 280 Gardaí per 100,000 in the state. Its hardly improved since the dark days of austerity. We have also found out that only 150 Garda trainees were recruited last year yet hundreds of Gardaí are retiring each year. Every week there are 2 Gardaí resigning from the force. The Gardaí service in Ireland is in crisis.
“Aontú is calling for the Government to support our bill for a minimum custodial sentence for those who physically assault a Garda. Our Bill also seeks to provide prison officers, a member of the fire brigade, ambulance personnel and Health service workers with protection. Frontline staff working in the lreland East Hospital group have made 3,500 assault reports in the last seven years. We have also seen Fire Service personnel attacked with bottle and rocks while they are doing their live save work. These workers put themselves in harms way for the protection of other citizens need to be protected with adequate resources and the law”.
“The Aontú Bill provides on summary conviction a six months custodial imprisonment sentence or on conviction on indictment a two years imprisonment. We are also aware of a significant level of assaults being carried out or ordinary citizens many of which are severe and go without a custodial sentence. We are researching the best way to deal with this at the moment in terms of the application of a minimum custodial sentence for these types of crimes”. CRIOCH