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Call For Mandatory Court Sentencing for Attacks on Gardaí

The GRA leadership have said that the Irish judicial system needs to get tougher on those who carry out attacks on members of the Gardaí while on duty. Mandatory sentencing is long overdue to act as a real deterrent for those who
initiate these assaults on all frontline emergency staff such as gardai, hospital workers, paramedics and firefighters.

The statistics as revealed by the Department of Justice from the past five years reveal a telling
insight to the reality of life on the frontline. This week, in response to a Parliamentary question posed by Neale Richmond TD, Minister Heather Humphreys revealed that over 4,200 gardaí were assaulted while on duty over the past five years.

And the trend of acceleration is even more alarming with the number of 700 assaults in 2016 rising
to 1,096 last year, an increase of 57% in that time. It has also been revealed that members have had to deal with over 45,000 public order offences countrywide during the Covid-19 pandemic, which gives a flavour to the many challenges the Gardaí have faced over the past 18 months.

These figures serve as a stark reminder of the treacherous job description that is modern day policing in Ireland.
Gardaí are trained to expect the unexpected, and often have to have thick skins when forced to endure
abuse and disrespect. But no matter what the situation is that Gardai respond to, there is never an
excuse for violent acts against them and it’s about time that court judgements adequately acknowledged this.

There have been many incidents of serious assaults on members of An Garda Síochána in recent
years, resulting in horrific injuries, and in the most serious occasions, death. Between 40-50% of all
injuries suffered by Gardai were as the result of an assault. The injury rate among other professions
nationally here is on average 3.4%.

Stricter sentencing for those who assault members of An Garda Síochána has always been an option open for the legislators, but has yet to be enacted. If as a society, we want to retain an unarmed police force then we
must protect members of An Garda Síochána through mandatory sentencing on all assaults on gardaí – and court penalties which adequately acknowledged this.

Source: Garda Representative Association


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