Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee says serious questions need to be answered regarding the handling of individuals who are released on bail but go on to breach their bail conditions.

Senator Clifford-Lee made the comments following confirmation that a volatile man was allowed remain in the community despite being observed by individual Gardaí breaching his bail conditions over a number of weeks. The man later went on to commit a horrific attack on a young woman who he repeatedly raped in July 2017.

Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee said, “This horrific attack over a two day period last summer sent shockwaves through the nation. People were absolutely horrified to learn that the man who carried out this attack was not only out on bail at the time of the attack, but that he was released on bail yet again following his arrest. It was subsequently revealed that this volatile individual was observed breaching his bail conditions on a number of occasions by Gardaí.

“Serious questions need to be answered as to why violent people who are out on bail can remain in the community despite having been observed breaching the conditions of their bail. Many of these people have gone on to commit atrocious crimes which have ruined people’s lives. What is the point of releasing individuals on bail only to allow them to flagrantly breach the conditions of their release? 12% of all crimes committed in 2017 were undertaken by people on bail for another offence.

“There needs to be serious consequences associated with breaching bail conditions, including imprisonment. Where a member of An Garda Síochána becomes aware that a person has breached, or is in breach of a condition of bail, there is an obligation on the member to bring that breach to the attention of the court. If our justice system is to function properly, there must be consequences for persons who breach bail conditions.

“An offender being on bail at the time of committing a further offence is becoming an all too common feature of the cases coming before the Courts. There are reports in the media week in and week out about how people who are out on bail, and in breach of the conditions of their release, are going on to commit horrendous crimes. People are treating bail as a bit of a joke and this simply isn’t good enough.

“Fianna Fáil introduced the ‘Bail (Amendment) Bill’ in December 2017 to address this problem. Fine Gael refused to support it, demonstrating yet again that they are weak on crime. It’s time for Fine Gael to get tough on repeat offenders,” concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.