THE immediate aftermath of a murder that shocks the nation is not, and never has been, the right time for a review of the legislation that exists to combat crime and terrorism.
History shows that legislation that is introduced in haste usually makes bad law.
In the coming months, as the gardai track down the killers of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe and bring them before the courts, Justice Minister Alan Shatter can take a measured look at our laws and see if they need to be tightened.
But in the meantime, there are some changes that can be implemented.
For society, this means an end to ambivalence and passive support in some quarters for our so-called republican freedom fighters and those who provide them with the logistical back-up to carry out campaigns of murder and mayhem.
Similarly, the public must insist that there is a greater emphasis on the rights of crime victims, particularly the vulnerable, who are at the mercy of opportunistic and often violent burglars in both isolated rural areas and urban streets.
Too often we see a reluctance to speak out about some of the gangs involved in the recent upsurge in break-ins and attacks on people, who are being targeted because they are defenceless – unlike the culprits, who always seem to have advocates prepared to provide a defence, based on their background or their origins.
The twin threats of violent crime and terrorism cannot be tackled properly unless stiff sentences are imposed on those found guilty in the courts, irrespective of their pedigree. And in the case of those who carried out the brutal murder of a brave garda on Friday night, conviction should mean they serve 40 years behind prison bars, with no deals to ensure an early release.