Seanad debates

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Parole Bill 2016: Committee and Remaining Stages


10:30 am

Photo of Marie Louise O'DonnellMarie Louise O'Donnell (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I do not want to give the impression that I think we should be closing down the Irish Penal Reform Trust; I am not at all, it is a wonderful organisation. I was just very angry with it for some of the things that it has suggested about victim impact statements and the controlling of such statements, particularly when I am trying to stand up for victims of great grievous, heinous crimes. They also did not particularly like my idea of a judge having the facility to impose certain tariffs. Eighteen years is all very well and the Senator is correct, there are 355 prisoners for murder in jail at the moment and 17 to 18 years is the average term that they serve. I asked the question of who decided that someone's life was worth 17 years? In the 1990s it was nearly 12 years and before that it was nearly seven years. Who is deciding this? I was trying to introduce certainty around what Senator Bacik spoke of, a mandatory life sentence, maybe of life or notionally of life, but it is not. That is the core, choking problem and to get rid of that, because there are degrees of murder, although I do not like to use that expression-----


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