Thursday, 11 July 2019
Parole Bill 2016: Committee and Remaining Stages
I thank the Senators for a very interesting debate. The Government is very conscious of the position of victims. Several measures have been taken to support the victims of crime in recent years. We do more than just stand up for victims; we actually act. Senators will be aware of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 which gave a myriad of rights to victims of crime. All criminal justice agencies have put in place measures to support victims. The Department of Justice and Equality provided funding of €1.712 million for victims' organisations in 2018, including AdVIC. We have put in place serious, effective and strong legislation to support victims and we are also funding victims' agencies and organisations while the criminal justice agencies have also trained their people in supporting victims. A lot is going on there, and more needs to be done, but people should not think that the Government does not support victims. We do and have been doing so for quite a while.
I wish to acknowledge Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell's acknowledgment of a spirit of co-operation on this Bill. It is important legislation and is doing much important stuff. The Government has worked extensively with the Bill's sponsors and I believe its underlying values and principles have been respected here. This has been supported and welcomed in both Houses. I also acknowledge Deputy O'Callaghan's initial proposing of the Bill, which the Government has taken on and on which it has worked very hard to ensure it is robust, will work and will be substantial.
Senator Craughwell referred to a case from some years ago. I am familiar with it. One person has served 40 years behind bars and the other has since died.