I find myself wondering about how often are we going to do this rehashing of the term watershed. Purely coincidentally I was opposite Donna Cleary’s house the morning after her murder as I was doing a NEAR fm radio panel show in the Northside Civic centre. As a few readers would know I was a candidate in that area for the 2004 locals. There is an awful feeling of despair and helplessness that comes in the aftermath of such a senseless act. And senseless it was, shooting up a house because you weren’t let into a party.
Part of the problem is that the guys involved have no fear that they will face real life altering consequences in response to their crimes. In fact, most of them have seen the same response from the system each step along the way as the seriousness of their crimes has escalated. 2nd chance after 2nd chance. I’m a believer in 2nd chances but not in 10th or 20th chances.
As for what I think we should do I would suggest the following
- that we need to end the lax mentality of granting free legal aid without properly ascertaining someone’s financial situation.
- We should have a microCAB unit to investigate the circumstances of people who appear to be living very well yet are only on welfare and who obviously appear to have other sources of income.
- an end to concurrent sentencing for violent and crimes related to the supply of drugs, as it creates a loophole for those on bail that when convicted they can plead guilty to other offenses while in prison and serve no further time. Each crime is different and should be deal with separately.
- an end to automatic unearned remission.
- a recall capacity vote for judges by the public every 5 years perhaps run to coincide with the local elections whereby the public can remove those judges from the bench that they feel are not reflecting societal norms in their sentencing policy.
- There are judges in Limerick who appear to fall for every sob story going. And yet no one chases up these tales of woe or references to million euro contracts to verify whether they’re true or not. If people were neglected as children then charges should be brought against their parents and those involved should be prepared to act as witnesses.
- This is a small country and Judges should be rotated around areas more frequently. It is very odd that with only 4 million people and given the size of the country that so many bench warrants are outstanding.
- A new prison or the building of an existing one specifically designed to provide hard time for those prisoners who are no interested in rehabilitation.
- Put an end to the practice an automatic right to rehousing in the private rental sector by the HSE. If you abuse a local authority house then that should be it for you.
I’m sure that there will be those that read the above and judge it harsh but harsh is part of what is needed and even deserved.