Saturday 29 April 2017

'Rob one house, get two free' - the burglar's creed

Burglary is not a crime against property, it's a personal attack on scared and vulnerable people, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

INCREASED PUNISHMENT FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS: That will be the aim of planned legislation from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, seen above with Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan
INCREASED PUNISHMENT FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS: That will be the aim of planned legislation from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, seen above with Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

Eilis O'Hanlon

The news that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is to introduce legislation to increase punishments for repeat burglars led to an interesting response from Newstalk, which decided to ask burglars themselves what they thought of the proposals.

What next - asking serial killers for their thoughts on the electric chair?

As it happened, Henry McKean's report was quite illuminating, not least for highlighting the scandal of concurrent sentences, on which Frances Fitzgerald has rightly set her sights. One interviewee had been convicted on three counts of burglary and one other charge, and was sentenced to "two-and-a-half years, two-and-a-half years, two-and-a-half years, all run into two and a half." Three offences. One sentence. Rob one house, get two free.

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