Commenting following yesterday’s high profile sentencing in the Central Criminal Court, Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan TD said, “The conviction of Eoin Berkeley for a crime of the most depraved and serious nature, committed while he was on bail, once again highlights the dangers associated with the violation of bail conditions.
“In this particular instance, one of the terms of bail was that this individual would stay away from Dublin City centre. This was breached.
“He also has a series of serious previous convictions and had consequently been identified by the justice system as dangerous; breaching a term of bail should have meant that his bail was revoked.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that failure to enforce bail conditions has resulted in tragic consequences. Fianna Fáil introduced legislation last year to make our bail laws stricter so that the presumption would be that a person who had already been convicted of a serious offence would not get bail if charged with another serious offence.
“The Irish people voted overwhelmingly for this by way of referendum in 1996. Unfortunately, the Government opposed this legislation. It needs to look again at this issue to recognise the public’s legitimate concerns and the need to strengthen our bail laws.
“Breaching conditions of bail must have immediate and serious consequences for people who disregard those conditions.
“If the State itself do not take bail terms seriously then it is difficult to expect those on bail to treat them seriously or abide by the conditions set out. The State needs to be far more intolerant of violations of bail terms than they are at present,” he concluded.