Gallagher reintroduces Criminal Justice Bill to protect frontline emergency service personnel from assault

Published on: 19 November 2021

Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher will re-introduce the Criminal Justice (Public Order) (Amendment) Bill 2019 and bring forth amendments to the Bill. The amendments propose a maximum sentence not exceeding seven years and a proposed minimum sentence where applicable to be five years for anyone convicted of an assault on a member of the emergency services unless the court decides that by reason of exceptional and specific circumstances relating to the offence or it would be unjust.   

A proposed new section to the Bill would mean that a person would not be eligible for parole before the expiry of such minimum term.   The Bill will also make it a specific offence to ram an emergency services vehicle.  

Senator Gallagher commented, “Every day nurses, paramedics, Gardaí, and firefighters put themselves on the front line to protect us. However, they often find themselves under threat and in dangerous situations.  

“Last year there were nearly 8,700 reports of assault on health care staff alone. Figures show that 4,166 nurses and midwives reported some type of assault, (physical, verbal or sexual) which amounts to 48% of this cohort. Other frontline staff experience similar abuse in their day-to-day work and there are claims that many assaults go unreported.  

“Action must be taken to stop this type of abuse and the onus is on us as legislators to protect our emergency service personnel. This Bill will work as a strong deterrent to perpetrators.  

“An attack on the emergency services is an attack on all of us and requires additional measures. This Bill seeks to apply that principle to all of those who provide this vital public service.”  

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