Just months before the next general election the Government has finally moved to take action on the wave of burglaries that have hit communities across the country, according to Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins.
Deputy Collins was responding to the publication of the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015 introduced in the Dáil today.
“Communities right around the country have been affected by the burglaries over the last few years. The official CSO data shows an increase of over 8% nationally in the 12 months to June, but in reality almost half of all Garda divisions recorded increases of over 10%. The recent spate of violent attacks during burglaries on elderly people in their homes has left many people living in constant fear.”
Over the last four years Fine Gael and Labour have:
– Closed 139 garda stations
– Allowed garda numbers to fall below 12,800
– Neglected crucial technologic investment
– Ignored FF warnings and legislation on burglaries
Deputy Collins added: “The closure of garda stations and the massive reduction in garda numbers over the last four years has left many communities less policed and more isolated. There have been particular high profile cases of aggravated burglaries and even tragic incidents where people have been seriously affected or died arising from their home being invaded by criminals. We need a tough response to the gangs targeting communities and many older citizens.
“The Government’s legislation introduced today targets reform of bail, sets out tougher sentences and deals with the problem of repeat and serial offenders. Fianna Fáil supports the legislation. Targeting this cohort of repeat offenders has the potential to significantly reduce the number of burglaries being committed. Fianna Fáil has already published 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 within 12 months.
“It has become increasingly clear to me that our criminal justice system as currently constituted is working more for the criminals than for victims of crime. 40% of cases brought forward by the DPP failed to be heard in court or result in a conviction. We need to radically shift the balance and make the criminal justice system work for the victims of crime. This legislation is finally taking a step in that direction.”