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

Yes, and in that case they would not all have this mandatory life sentence. The whole area of consecutive and concurrent sentencing also needs to be looked at. It is enormous. If two people are burned or killed, which life sentence is the prisoner doing? There are many families of such victims in AdVIC. I will not stop and I will continue to stand up for victims in whatever way I can but the law does equalise. I am delighted with aspects of this Bill and am personally delighted at parole rising from seven to 12 years, which gives some certainty to families of victims. I will continue to speak for the families. I have worked in disadvantaged areas all of my life, and taught in them, and been very proud to do so. I would be equally as proud to stand up for the victims who, interestingly, also come from very disadvantaged areas. Look at the work of John Lonergan or any work on prisoners in Ireland, what happens to people and how they end up there. That is another day's work.

We do not have first degree murder here, it is a filmic term but it is something that we use to convey that a crime is so heinous and violent, that it was not an accident, grievous bodily harm, fatal assault, it was not a thump outside the chip shop but it was murder with intent.

I can see that if I call a vote I might have the magic five Members, but all I am doing is standing up for the victims of this appalling crime. I am disappointed that it was magicked out of the Bill and that when I had been arguing for it in this House it was being obliterated in the Lower House. I am also disappointed that Fianna Fáil did not support me since we supported the Bill generally but maybe it is busy talking about other things.


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