Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, believes the passage of the Criminal Justice Bill through the Oireachtas is a major boost to crime fighting.
“The Criminal Justice Bill is an important piece of legislation that will strengthen the powers of the Courts and Gardaí when dealing with persistent serious offenders and persons on bail who pose an ongoing threat to the public.
“This Bill gives the Courts more powers pertaining to bail conditions, including prohibiting an accused from contacting victims, prohibiting driving for those charged with a serious road traffic offence, and imposing a night-time curfew.
“Courts will be required to give reasons for bail decisions as well as taking additional factors into account when considering refusal or acceptance of bail for serious offenders, for example the nature and frequency of previous offending.
“Additionally, the Bill allows for electronic monitoring of people on bail, to demonstrate compliance with bail conditions, when requested by the prosecutor. It will also help support victims of crime by allowing for victim evidence at bail proceedings.
“These measures ensure that greater emphasis is placed on the rights and safety of victims and the public during bail decisions, while continuing to safeguard the rights of the accused. It also provides increased guidance for the courts and greater transparency in the bail process.
“I am delighted to see these common sense measures being introduced; they will enhance the powers of our Justice System and protection of our communities by acting as a deterrent to repeat offenders.
“Fine Gael in Government is also committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country. Last year a €10m invested provided the Garda fleet with an additional 597 vehicles, while one of this year’s measures will see 900 trainees become members of An Garda Síochána. This will bring Garda numbers to about 13,500 by year end, real progress towards the target of 15,000. Furthermore funding has been provided to recruit 500 civilians during 2017 to support the wide ranging reform plan in An Garda Síochána.
“All these proactive developments will strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and help deter crime, and therefore effectively improve the safety of our local and national communities.”