Automatic jail sentences must be introduced for the criminals involved in the spate of burglaries in Galway city and county in recent months, some of which “have been quite vicious”.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Frank Fahey who is calling for tougher sentencing to deter burglars.
“To attack a person in their home, to invade their privacy and to shatter any sense of security they may have felt in their home, is unforgivable,” he said. “These kinds of robberies involve more than just stealing possessions; they result in the theft of independence and of quality of life.”
Dep Fahey believes that those who have terrorised households in Galway over the past few months must be held to account. “It is clear that many of the burglaries have been carried out by the same people with some recent cases coming through the courts showing a trend in the people involved,” he said.
In 2008 there were 30,821 cases of theft or larceny brought before the District Courts but out of those cases 16,510 were convicted and just 2,932 people were jailed. The figures for 2007 were similar with 22,937 cases, 13,092 convictions, and 2,794 people receiving jail sentences.
The recent Law Reform Commission Report sets out a number of recommendations, including one which states that homeowners should be afforded with more protection in the eyes of the law when defending themselves from intruders.
These recommendations will be taken into consideration by the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern TD when finalising the relevant legislation next year, however Dep Fahey will also be urging him to look at the sentencing element.
“An automatic jail sentence,” he said, “for serious cases would act as a proper deterrent to people to taking part in burglaries.”