With only days from Halloween, traditionally one of the busiest and most dangerous nights of the year for emergency personnel, the Minister for Justice has stated that she will not strengthen laws that would protect emergency services personnel from attacks. Fianna Fáil Dublin City Councillor Jim O’Callaghan says this is unacceptable and has called on the Government to lift its block on Fianna Fail legislation that would protect emergency workers on duty from being assaulted.
“Halloween is a time of great enjoyment for most people but for members of the Emergency Services, whether Gardai, paramedics or fire crews, it is an extremely dangerous night. Each year these emergency workers, along with medical personnel in A&E departments, are subjected to acts of violence and assault while on duty protecting and serving the public. It is unacceptable that assaults on emergency workers are not treated under law as more serious crimes,” said O’Callaghan.
In 2012 Fianna Fáil introduced the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill. The Bill provided that any serious assault on or threats to kill emergency workers on duty would result in a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than five years. The Government’s large majority in the Oireachtas has allowed it to stifle this Bill.
“People who seek to assault or threaten on duty emergency personnel are attacking not just these personnel but all of Society. Their crimes should be punished severely so that the message goes out that those who assault emergency workers will go to jail. Fianna Fáil proposed such a law in 2012 but unfortunately the Government has given it no priority in the Oireachtas. As Halloween approaches, it is timely to repeat Fianna Fail’s call that proper protection for emergency workers be introduced. This can only be done by the Government supporting the Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill,” stated Cllr Jim O’Callaghan.