The lack of public outrage over the brutal murder of a Roma teenager raises serious questions about our values as a society, according to a senior garda.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) asked if the abduction, abuse and murder of 18-year-old Marioara Rostas would have created more public outrage had she been Irish.
GRA general secretary PJ Stone questioned why there had been no “outpourings of disgust that such depravity could be committed here”.
Ms Rostas was abducted in Jan 2008 in Dublin City centre by a member of a notorious extended crime family. She was subsequently subjected to multiple rapes by at least two members of this family before being shot dead in a flat.
When her remains were found four years later, last January, in the Wicklow Mountains, the senior garda leading the investigation said she had been “brutalised and murdered for no apparent reason”.
Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan said she “suffered an appalling death that is incomprehensible in a civilised society”.
In an editorial in the GRA journal, the Garda Review, Mr Stone said this was “a heinous crime” which shocked gardaí.
“In the final days of her life she was treated horrifically; the manner of her death too savage to be understood within a developed society,” he said.
“It must be said that public outrage has not galvanised into mass demonstrations of solidarity against this direct assault on our humanity. Where are the outpourings of disgust that such a level of depravity could be committed here?
“The vocal dissension and mobilisation against fox and stag hunting and the political communication to retain the medical card for the senior citizens dwarfed any rallying against violent and murderous sexual predators.”
He added: “This raises the question; would a teenager’s abduction, abuse and murder have been more newsworthy, more talked about and simply more emotive if she were an Irish national? As a society are we ambivalent towards the murder because the victim was a member of the Roma community.”
Garda sources said the investigation was “progressing well” and detectives were confident of bringing charges against those involved, including the main suspect, who is in custody on separate matters.
Mr Stone said “not all murders are equal” and that some murders, such as that of Ms Rostas, should attract lengthier prison sentences.
“We propose that judges should be given greater latitude for the sentences permissible for the most heinous crimes.”
All convicted murderers receive a life sentence, although the average served is 17 years.
Last January, the Law Reform Commission recommended judges be allowed powers to set minimum jail terms for murder.
Killian Forde of the Integration Centre said Roma people were “routinely demonised and dehumanised”.
“It is likely that this dehumanisation was a factor in the rape, torture and murder of the girl. Is it also likely that this dehumanisation was a factor in the indifference that greeted the news and detail of her death.”
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