New legislation which would introduce mandatory minimum sentences for criminals targeting older persons has been launched by Independent Senator and European election candidate Rónán Mullen.
“The aim of this new legislation is to reduce the volume and frequency of crimes against the elderly and vulnerable,” said Senator Mullen.
“Sadly, many older people, particularly those living alone, do not feel safe in their own homes. We need to explore every avenue to find ways of deterring criminals from targeting vulnerable people in our communities.”
He added, “When older people tell me that they keep their dog in the kitchen or in the bedroom at night, because they feel more secure, it angers me. People who have lived and worked for others, and brought the next generation to maturity, should feel the care and protection of society in their later years, instead of feeling exposed, isolated and vulnerable which is the lot of far too many.”
The Independent Senator said it is not possible for An Garda Síochaná to protect people properly when rural Garda stations are being closed across the country. “So we must find new ways of deterring the deliberate and calculated targeting of elderly people by criminal gangs.”
He said that recent stories of shocking and violent crimes committed against older people who were singled out because they were living in quiet rural locations, or were vulnerable due to ill-health or living alone, are “truly frightening”.
Senator Mullen praised the many community and voluntary efforts to enhance safety for older people living alone but said these efforts now had to be supported by legislative deterrents.
“We have seen communities come together to try and fight this issue but these efforts must be supported by legislation to make criminals targeting older people think twice. I am proposing mandatory minimum sentences for criminals who target older people. This would mean that thugs who attack vulnerable older people would receive more severe punishment. I hope this will act as a real deterrent to those who might view targeting the elderly as an easy crime,” Senator Mullen concluded.