Call for clarity on home defence rights
Published 30/03/2010 | 05:00
GARDA supervisors are demanding government action to protect people's right to defend themselves in their homes.
They want the Cabinet to sanction immediate legislation to safeguard homeowners who try to protect themselves and their families when thugs break into their properties.
Speaking at the AGSI conference, association president Dan Hanley pointed out that there has been a debate on the issue since farmer Padraig Nally was acquitted in 2006 of the manslaughter of John 'Frog' Ward, a Traveller he shot dead after he found him breaking into his home.
In 2008 the British parliament enacted legislation and at the time Home Secretary Jack Straw said: "The justice system must not only work on the side of people who do the right thing as good citizens, but also be seen to work on their side".
Mr Hanley added: "I agree with the principles, as set out by Mr Straw". He told Justice Minister Dermot Ahern that it needed to be clearly set out in law what people could do to defend themselves and also to enable courts to deal with violent intruders.
He also asked the minister to use his influence to ensure that the Government pressed ahead with its initial plans for the regeneration of Limerick city housing estates, now stalled because of the economic downturn.
Fewer than 100 people had succeeded in blackening the name of Limerick for many years and the city had been crying out for action, he added.
Mr Hanley said that if the Government did not proceed with the €1.7bn regeneration projects, future generations would feel the consequences .
"We need to support and strengthen the large majority of decent people in those areas. We need to stand up to the small groups, who have been keeping the good people of these estates hostage."