Monday 23 September 2019

Bail laws must be applied to prevent crime - FG candidate

Fears: Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop. Photo: Damien Eagers
Fears: Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop. Photo: Damien Eagers
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Bail laws need to be applied to prevent serious crimes like rape being committed by individuals awaiting trial, Fine Gael's newest candidate has said.

Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop - the former chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) - has said the case of a Spanish student raped by Eoin Berkley was "unacceptable" and "terribly sad".

It has emerged that Berkley (25) should have been in custody over five different public order bail breaches for another alleged offence when he attacked the student.

Gardaí have ordered a review into the handling of the multiple bail breaches by Berkley, amid warnings he should never have been free to commit the horrific rape.

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said she had come across similar incidents when she was DRCC boss, and recalled in particular the case of Manuela Riedo, the Swiss teenager who was raped and murdered in 2007.

She told the Irish Independent: "Manuela Riedo sticks out in my mind around that time. It was a violent case in Galway and the perpetrator of that crime was on bail at the time.

"I do think that the guards certainly have a lot to do in terms of applying the bail laws. They have the power to do that."

She welcomed the internal Garda review of the Berkley case, which is being led by Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy, saying: "I hope it can prevent other crimes being committed by people out on bail."

In an interview on RTÉ Radio, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan was asked whether an internal Garda review of the Berkley case was good enough.

He replied that the inquiry should be allowed to take its course. He said it would have to look at whether the law was adequate and whether the procedures and the protocols were "sufficiently robust as far as the gardaí were concerned".

Meanwhile, Ms O'Malley- Dunlop - a Fine Gael candidate for Dublin South-West - also called for the process of compiling a second Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) survey to be "accelerated". The first one was published in 2002 and the Government plans to conduct another SAVI study soon.

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said Ireland had "changed hugely since 2002" and pointed to the rise of social media and the dangers of the online grooming of potential victims. She said a new report was needed "so as we can properly inform policy going forward".

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section