Minimum sentencing should be introduced for burglars, according to Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins.
Senator Higgins has requested that the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, come into the Seanad to discuss the possibility of introducing mandatory sentencing. She was speaking in light of the violent burglary that took place in Tipperary last weekend.
“We must prevent similar attacks from happening in the future, and send a message to those living in rural Ireland that they are safe from these thugs in their own homes,” said Senator Higgins in the Seanad.
“Only one fifth of sentences for burglary convictions lead to jail terms of five years or more, while almost half of all convictions for robbery attract sentences of three years or less. And to add insult to injury for those affected by the actions of these thugs, many robberies are carried on by repeat offenders,” she said.
The Athenry Senator said it was unacceptable that there was no minimum or mandatory sentence for burglars in this country, given the number and the gravity of attacks in recent years.
“The criminals involved are clearly not being deterred from committing burglary again. And it is high time we strive for better standards in our criminal justice system and work to ensure that justice is seen to be done for the benefit of both victims and society as a whole.”
Senator Higgins said that increased pressures on Gardaí at local level, as well as an ever improving road network had served to give criminals the confidence to “rob, pilfer and maim”.
“The human cost is such that victims and their families are likely be traumatized for the rest of their lives, and it is up to us as legislators to ensure that the inviolability of the dwelling is upheld, that people feel safe in their homes,” she said.