Sunday 17 November 2019

Defenceless deserve better from legal system and community

WE HAVE no words to express our dismay, our shock and our outrage at the brutal killing of two elderly men in Castlebar yesterday.

The brothers, who lived just around the corner from the constituency office of Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, just wanted to be left alone to enjoy a quiet and simple life. But their lives were ended with a level of violence which has been described as unusually brutal.

Mr Kenny spoke for all of us when he described the killings as an 'act of savagery'. Other local people reflected upon the knock-on effect of terror which such appalling crimes have on elderly people in that community and all over the country.

It is notable that these killings did not happen in an isolated part of the countryside – but in the heart of Mayo's county town. It shows how susceptible all of us are to crimes from people without scruple or conscience who prey upon the most vulnerable.

It is good that so many of us retain the capacity to be dismayed, shocked and outraged. The only trouble with such strong sentiments is that too often they do not last.

So, we must endeavour to remember the depth of our feelings on this day and put them to work for change. Let us change the way we look out for one another in our communities – especially the most vulnerable people.

Let us demand better policing resources to improve community safety. Let us cooperate more with the authorities and with one another to make it harder for brutal criminals to operate.

Let us demand tougher and more consistent sentencing for such crimes, insisting that crimes against the most vulnerable people must carry an extra premium of punishment. Let us insist that, when tougher sentences are imposed for such crimes, they are carried through in our penal system. It is only by doing all these things that our depth of feeling at this brutal double killing can be given any real meaning.

Online Editors

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