Fianna Fáil calls for creation of sentencing council

Niall Collins
Niall Collins, FF spokesperson on justice

Fianna Fáil has reiterated that it would create an Irish sentencing council if it is returned to power, in a bid to impose harsher sentences on serious offenders.

The proposed body would operate within the Courts Service of Ireland and set the “parameters for sentencing”, the Irish Examiner reports.

However, the party denied that it would limit the independence of the judiciary or freedom of the courts.

Niall Collins, party spokesperson on justice, told the newspaper: “You would have people from the Gardaí, the probation, the HSE, with people from civil society and you would have members of the judiciary.

“You have to respect the independence of the Judiciary and not encroach upon them, they would sit down as a group of people within the court service with a dedicated small budget, they would draw up the parameters for sentencing.”

In 2013, Mr Collins published a draft Judicial Sentencing Commission Bill to introduce a sentencing council that would “issue sentencing guidelines, promote clarity and consistency in sentencing and improve public confidence in the system”.

He claimed the council would “help to support judges in their decision making” and resembled the model in the UK.

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