New laws on the way to tackle repeat burglars
New legislation tightening up the bail laws for burglars and introducing tougher sentences will be enacted by the middle of the summer.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, whose proposals were approved by the Cabinet yesterday, said later it was a short piece of legislation and could be put in place quickly.
She said the new Criminal Justice (burglary of a dwelling) Bill would allow a court to refuse bail to a suspect, if there was evidence of a previous conviction for domestic burglary, coupled with two or more pending charges.
She said the bill would also require that any jail sentence for a second domestic burglary must be consecutive to any prison term for a similar offence, committed in the six months either before or after.
She commended the gardaí for Operation Fiacla, the nationwide crackdown on burglaries.
By the end of last year, Fiacla had led to 11,688 arrests and 6,711 people were charged.
The new Garda Burglary Unit will use detailed data analysis to target crime gangs responsible for the increasing number of home break-ins. The Garda Analysis Service will crunch figures on worst-hit areas.
It came as armed gardaí arrested five men in an operation aimed at smashing a gang suspected of masterminding a spate of jewellery raids and organised prostitution.
The five suspects, all Romanian, are being held under anti-gangland legislation and can be detained without charge for up to seven days.
The gang is believed to have taken jewellery worth over €300,000, in robberies in counties Kildare, Dublin and Meath.
More than 50 gardaí took part in search operations in Balbriggan, Donabate, Blanchardstown and Smithfield.