Fianna Fáil is calling on the Government to revisit the issue of establishing in law a specific offence relating to attacks on emergency workers which would carry a five year minimum jail term for offenders. It follows the violent attack on two prison officers in Tallaght Hospital.
Fianna Fáil brought the ‘Assaults on Emergency Workers Bill 2012’ to Second Stage debate in the Dáil where it was voted down by Fine Gael and Labour.
Deputy Calleary commented: “I produced this legislation in my previous role a spokesperson on justice following on from the death of Garda Robbie McCallion Swinford in County Mayo, who was killed while on duty in Letterkenny in 2009. In the case of Garda McCallion, and later in the similar case of Garda Garry McLoughlin, the fact that they were serving members of the Garda and were on duty when they were killed was discounted in the court cases. Fianna Fáil wants to see, established in law, a specific criminal offence for attacking frontline emergency workers.
“My colleague Niall Collins, now the party’s spokesperson on justice, has continually raised this matter with the government only to have been met with silence. Fianna Fáil has proposed a five year minimum jail term for anyone who assaults a member of the gardaí or another emergency worker such as prison officers, fire officers, nurses and paramedics.
Deputy Niall Collins added: “We believe that anyone who threatens, or attacks or causes harm to a frontline emergency worker must feel the full rigour of the law. The legislation we proposed would have introduced mandatory minimum jail sentences for anyone convicted of assaulting or threatening one of our emergency workers. It is extremely unfortunate that the government sought to vote down this legislation but we do feel this issue needs to be revisited. The threat to the safety of many frontline emergency workers needs to be recognised in law and the government should not be standing in the way of this happening.”