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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Cathal Ryan

Tougher sentences for assaults on Gardaí proposed following spate of attacks

People who assault Gardaí and other members of the emergency services could be hit with tougher sentences as part of proposals set to be brought before the Government in the coming weeks.

The proposed amendment to the law, which current Justice Minister Simon Harris will bring forward, could see people who are convicted of committing an assault on a member of An Garda Síochána landed with a 12-year prison sentence. It comes after Garda Commissioner Drew Harris called for the laws dealing with assaults on Gardaí to be updated.

Throughout recent months, there has been a series of assaults reported by members of the Gardaí. Last week a mob was caught on camera attacking Gardaí in Ballyfermot in southwest Dublin, an area where there was previously a report of Gardaí being assaulted.

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According to Freedom of Information figures obtained by Newstalk, between 2021 and January of 2023, 243 members of An Garda Síochána were assaulted.

The proposed laws will also see people who ram emergency vehicles given increased sentences. As with assaults on members of the Gardaí, there have been instances where emergency vehicles have been subject to attack, such as the Cherry Orchard incident last year.

Speaking to RTÉ, Minister Harris, who is holding the ministerial position due to Helen McEntee’s maternity leave, explained: "I want to change the law to ensure that we, the people's representatives, send a very clear message that attacks on members of An Garda Síochána will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly by a law that provides for longer sentences."

Simon Harris, Minister for Justice (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) and minister have previously met in recent months to discuss the issues affecting Gardaí, proposing a task force to deal with the ongoing issue.

In a statement to the Irish Mirror, a spokesperson for Gardaí said: "The welfare of all personnel in An Garda Síochána is of paramount importance to senior Garda Management. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris met with the four Garda representative associations in recent weeks at their request on the issues of assaults on Gardaí and recruitment.

"At the meeting, as he has done repeatedly, Commissioner Harris condemned these assaults and outlined that the organisation would be seeking to procure enhanced and additional safety equipment for Gardaí, and provide them with further training."


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