Seanad approves bill to change bail and sentencing rules for burglars

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the passage of a bill designed to target “persistent offenders who burgle homes”.

The Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill was passed by Seanad Éireann yesterday.

Under its provisions, district courts will be required to provide for consecutive jail sentences where a burglar is being sentenced for multiple offences.

It also allows courts to refuse bail for offenders who have a previous conviction for domestic burglary coupled with two or more pending charges.

Ms Fitzgerald said it would give gardaí the “legislative tools to tackle repeat burglars by allowing for bail to be denied, and consecutive sentences to be given, to habitual offenders”.

She added: “The Bill is one part of a broader co-ordinated strategy to tackle burglary and other crime through investment in Garda resources, increased recruitment, intensive operations like Thor, coordinated offender management though JARC, the Joint Agency Response to Crime, investment in community initiatives like Community Alert, and investment in crime-fighting technology including the DNA database.”

It will still be a matter for the sentencing court to decide whether imprisonment is warranted for any given offence and, if so, the duration of the custodial sentence for each offence.

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