Fianna Fáil will today publish a Bill to introduce a mandatory three years in jail for criminals convicted of burglary and a minimum of seven years on the third burglary conviction.
The party’s Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins will publish the Burglary Bill 2015 which introduces much tougher sentences for burglary offences in a bid to crack down on the surge in burglaries in both urban and rural areas.
According to Deputy Collins, criminals convicted of burglary are regularly walking free after receiving suspended sentences. The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson has expressed concern that the belated attempts by Government to address the issue at Cabinet today may not be tough enough.
“At the moment criminals convicted of burglary are going before the courts and being put right back on the streets with suspended sentences. The penalties aren’t nearly tough enough to deter criminals and discourage repeat offences. It is unacceptable that we are allowing these criminals to walk free at a time when many older people living alone have said they are afraid in their own homes,” said Deputy Collins.
“Under our proposals, there would be a minimum of three years in jail for anyone convicted of burglary and a minimum of seven years jail time for those convicted of a third burglary offence. Anyone who is convicted of using a vehicle during a burglary will be disqualified from driving for two years.
“I welcome the fact that the Minister for Justice finally appears to be waking up to the wave of burglaries in communities across the country over the past number of years. However from the reports so far, I am concerned that these changes will not go far enough to act as a significant deterrent to burglars.
“The spate of burglaries has got significantly worse since Fine Gael shut down more than 100 local garda stations four years ago, downgraded dozens more and dismantled community garda resources in areas across the country. This Government has ignored the spiralling crime crisis in many communities across the country since then. We now need a radical response from Minister Fitzgerald that recognises the mistakes made in relation to cuts to community policing and offers a comprehensive response to spiralling crime levels.”