Fianna Fáil has urged the Justice Minister to reconsider the party’s proposals for a 5 year minimum jail term for anyone who assaults a member of the gardaí or another emergency worker.
The party’s Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins has said he’s alarmed by the GRA’s claims that the number of attacks against gardaí is likely to reach 1,000 this year.
“This is an alarming figure. We cannot stand by a situation where the people that we trust to keep our communities safe are being attacked so regularly in the course of their everyday duties,” said Deputy Collins.
“I believe that anyone who threatens, attacks or causes harm to an on-duty garda must feel the full rigour of the law. This must also apply to fireman, ambulance workers, nurses and prison officers. Two years ago, my party published legislation to introduce mandatory minimum jail sentences for anyone convicted of assaulting or threatening one of our emergency workers. The Government rejected this legislation and has done absolutely nothing about it since.
“Given the extent of attacks against members of An Garda Síochána, I am urging Minister Shatter too look at these proposals again. The Assault on Emergency Workers Bill, published in October 2012, proposes a minimum 5 year jail term for criminals who assault or threaten the life of our emergency workers. Such tough penalties would act as a strong deterrent to criminals from lashing out at the very people who take risks every day to protect others.
“We need to send the message out loud and clear that threatening a member of the gardaí or any emergency worker will not be tolerated. There is already a strong sense that the gardaí are not getting the support that they need from Minister Shatter. The Minister now has an opportunity to stand behind members of the force and commit to protecting their safety. He must reconsider a decisive crack down on assaults against our emergency workers.”