Fianna Fáil wants tougher bail laws for convicted criminals

Fianna Fáil's Justice spokesperson has said he believes that bail should be refused to some people who have been previously convicted of burglaries.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Dublin Bay South TD Jim O'Callaghan said the problem of repeat offenders has to be addressed through tougher bail laws.

He said 13% of crimes in 2016 were committed by people who were on bail, compared to 11% in 2011.

Deputy O'Callaghan said is it not acceptable that the government and legislators "ignore the statistics".

Jim O'Callaghan TD

"I think that if a person is charged with burglary of a dwelling and they already have a conviction in the previous five year in respect of that type of offence, then the presumption should be against them being granted bail,” he said.

“If they are to be granted bail, I see no interference in their civil liberties if they are to be subject to electronic monitoring.

“If you have been convicted of an offence in the past, then one of the consequences that is you lose some of your liberties."

Fianna Fáil is also calling for an amendment of bail laws to make electronic monitoring a condition of bail, where an application for bail is made by a person who has been convicted of a serious offence in the ten years prior to the application or where the person is alleged to have committed the offence whilst on bail for a separate offence.

The party's motion on crime is to be debated in the Dáil tomorrow.

Also speaking to Drivetime, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, said she would be concerned about the possibility that electronic monitoring would be used as "an add-on where people may not have been subject to detention in the first place."

Senator Bacik, who is also Reid Professor of Criminal Law at Trinity College Dublin, said legislators would need to exercise caution by suggesting that amendments to bail laws would be a "cure all for some of the problems in rural areas."

Senator Bacik said she believes an increase in resources for Gardaí would be more effective in tackling repeat offenders, than changes to bail laws.

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