Offaly/North Tipperary Fine Gael TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, has welcomed the passage of the Criminal Justice Bill through the Oireachtas, saying that it will help tackle the issue of repeat offenders in Offaly and nationwide.
“This Bill is a major boost to crime fighting here in Offaly/North Tipperary. The legislation gives the Courts more powers in imposing bail conditions, including prohibiting an accused from contacting victims, prohibiting him or her from driving when charged with a serious road traffic offence, and the imposition of a night-time curfew," she explained.
Courts will also be required to take additional factors into account when considering whether to refuse bail to serious offenders including the nature and frequency of previous offending. It allows for people on bail to be monitored electronically to demonstrate compliance with bail conditions when requested by the prosecutor.
“This Bill also helps the victims of crime allowing for victim evidence at bail proceedings and the Bill also makes it a requirement that the court give reasons for bail decisions," Marcella told the Offaly Express.
“I am delighted to see these common sense measures being introduced; they will enhance the powers of our Justice System and should act as a deterrent to repeat offenders, thereby protecting local communities," she added.
“Fine Gael in Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. 2017 will see 900 trainees become members of An Garda Síochána."
This would bring Garda numbers to about 13,500 by year end, something Corcoran Kennedy describes as "real progress" towards the stated 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," Marcella remarked.
“In 2016, some €10m was invested in new vehicles for the Garda fleet with 597 vehicles being allocated to the fleet," she concluded.
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