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Passage of Courts, Civil Law, Criminal Law & Superannuation Bill Welcomed.

Passage of Courts, Civil Law, Criminal Law and Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024 Welcomed.

  • Mandatory retirement age for uniformed public servants to increase from 60 to 62 years for those who wish to avail of it.
  • Carrier liability fines to increase where airlines allow passengers to board without proper documentation.
  • Maximum penalties for a number of serious knife-related offences to increase.

The passage of the Courts, Civil Law, Criminal Law and Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2024 has been welcomed today.

This Bill will allow for an increase in the mandatory retirement for uniformed public servants, including members of An Garda Síochána, Prison Officers and the Defence Forces, from 60 to 62 years of age, for those who wish to avail of it

The Bill will also increase the maximum fines payable by airline and ferry companies, where they allow someone to travel into the Irish State without proper documentation.

The Bill restores the power of the Minister for Justice to revoke certificates of naturalisation. The Damache Judgement in the Supreme Court found the process lacked necessary safeguards.
The circumstances in which certificates can be revoked remains unchanged and include where a person poses a security risk to the State or where citizenship was obtained through fraudulent means.

The Bill will also increase the maximum penalties, upon conviction on indictment, for the following four knife-related offences;

  1. Possession in a public place of an article intended to cause injury to, incapacitate or intimidate the person.
  2. Trespass with a knife, weapon of offence or other article which has a blade or sharp point.
  3. Production of an article capable of inflicting serious injury.
  4. Manufacture, sale, hire etc. of offensive weapons, (of such description as may be specified by Ministerial order).

The Bill also includes a number of amendments to the Judicial Council Act 2019, to provide for changes to the personal injuries guidelines to address issues identified by the Supreme Court in the recent Delaney case.

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Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking Bill Passed.

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking) Bill 2023 has passed through both Houses of the Oireachtas today.

The Bill is seen as a major legislative step forward in ensuring that the justice system protects and supports all victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

The Bill contains a number of important measures, including:

  1. Ensuring anonymity for victims in all trials for sexual offences.
  2. Extend the victim’s right to separate legal representation if they are being questioned about their previous sexual history.
  3. Ensure character evidence at a sentencing hearing for a person convicted of a sexual offence must be made on under oath or by way of affidavit.
  4. Ensure people subject to military law who commit specified sexual offences will be dealt with by An Garda Síochána and the civilian courts rather than by courts-martial.
  5. Put the new National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for human trafficking victims on a statutory footing.
  6. Clear the final obstacles to ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The Bill, once enacted, will ensure anonymity for victims in all trials for sexual offences and will offer them greater protection, as they engage with the justice system, by enshrining their right to separate legal representation if there is an application to question them over their previous sexual experience.

The victim’s right to separate legal representation if there is an application to question them about their previous sexual experience will be extended to include trials for sexual assault, which had not previously been covered under the legislation. The barrister who is assigned to represent the victim at the application will be allowed to continue to represent the victim at the questioning, if the application is granted.

The Bill also provides for the ‘vouching of character evidence in sexual offences cases. This will ensure that where a person has been convicted of a sexual offence, character references presented at sentencing will have to be made via oath or affidavit.

In addition, the new Bill also puts a revised National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in place for identification and support of victims of trafficking. This new approach will make it easier for victims of trafficking to come forward, be identified and access advice, accommodation and support.

Some victims of trafficking, because of interactions they may have had with law enforcement officials in other jurisdictions, have a perception that police cannot be trusted. This new approach acknowledges other state bodies, outside of An Garda Síochána, as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), have a role in identifying victims of human trafficking and referring them to the National Referral Mechanism.

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Ms Emily Logan Nominated As Police Ombudsman.

Ms Emily Logan.

Ms Emily Logan (pictured here left), has been recommending for appointment as the new Police Ombudsman under the Policing, Security and Community Safety Act 2024.

Ms Logan was nominated for the role following an open, competition undertaken by the Public Appointments Service. The Government approved the nomination last week and Ms Logan’s official appointment, by the President of Ireland, is expected to be confirmed, with effect from August 1st, 2024, when her current term of appointment ends.

Career to date:
Ms Logan was appointed to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in February 2021 having served as Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (2014 to 2019). Prior to this, she served as Ireland’s first Ombudsman for Children (2003 to 2014).

In addition to ten years of investigations as Ombudsman; in 2013 she conducted an inquiry under Section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, into the taking into care of two children from two Roma families by An Garda Síochána.
Ms Logan has over twenty years management experience both in Ireland and in the UK, including Director of Nursing at Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Director of Nursing at Tallaght University Hospital.
She holds an LLM in Human Rights Law (Queens University Belfast), an MBA (University College Dublin) and an MSc in Psychology (City University London).
She is Adjunct Professor (Human Rights Practice) at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUIG, and Adjunct Professor at the School of Law in University College Cork.
Ms Logan also serves on the Board of the Independent Police Complaints Authorities Network (IPCAN).

It will be necessary to ensure that there is a seamless transition process between the provisions contained in the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Policing, Security and Community Safety Act 2024.

Preparations are at an advanced stage for the commencement of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Act 2024, later this year. Further announcements regarding appointments to key roles are expected to be made in the coming weeks and months.

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June 2024: New Gardaí Graduate From Templemore, Co. Tipperary.

  • 157 Gardaí graduated yesterday at a ceremony held at the Garda College, Templemore, Co. Tipperary, bringing to approximately 323 the number of newly graduated members so far this year.
  • 35% of the new recruits were women while 11% were born outside of Ireland.

At a graduation ceremony held at the Garda College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary yesterday, 157 newly-Garda members were welcomed by those in attendance.
These new Garda members have now completed their training and will be assigned to Garda Divisions throughout the country.

Yesterday’s graduations now bring the total number of members of An Garda Síochána to over 14,000, up from 12,943 members in 2016. Of those graduating today, 53 members (35%) were women, while 17 members (11%) were born outside the Irish State.

It will come as no surprise that 103 of these probationer Gardaí have now been assigned to the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR); 38 to the Eastern Region; 11 to the Southern Region, and 6 to the North Western Region. Four of those graduating yesterday are former Garda Reserve members.

These additions in increased Garda membership should ensure that our communities continue to remain safe while granting An Garda Síochána the resources required to operate effectively. The budget, provided by taxpayers to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of over €2.35 billion for 2024.

Yesterday was the second graduation to take place from the Garda College at Templemore in 2024, with a further graduation planned for September of this year.

An intake of 185 trainees entered the Garda College in April. This was the first of four intakes planned for April, July, September and December of this year.

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Sinn Féin In Breach Of Legislation Governing Election Posters In Thurles.

Pic: G. Willoughby. (25/6/24)

Yet one other giant election poster has been located in Thurles town, Co. Tipperary, which should be recognised immediately as being currently in breach of the legislation governing election posters.

The Sinn Féin (better known as ‘The Angry Party’) poster advertises the availability of the now newly elected EU candidate Ms Kathleen Function, formerly Teachta Dála for Carlow–Kilkenny and wife of David Cullinane T.D of “Up the Republic, Up the ‘Ra and Tiocfaidh ár lá” fame, latter phrase understood to support the activities of the Provisional IRA.

The above poster photographed today appears to have broken at least 3 rules:
(1). Legislation requires that every notice, bill, poster or similar document, having reference to a referendum or Dáil, Local or European Parliament election or distributed for the purpose of furthering the candidature of any candidate at an election, must have printed on its face the name and address of the printer. The omission of the name and address of the printer is an offence. Where a person is guilty of an offence, such person shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such a fine and such imprisonment.
(2). Posters should be erected at a minimum height of 2.3 metres above any area to which pedestrians have access.
(3). Any election/referendum posters in place after the stipulated time-frame are deemed to be in breach of the legislation and are subject to an on-the-spot litter fine of €150. The rules were made quite clear, prior to the election date; ‘All posters must be removed by “Friday 14th June 2024 (midnight)”. If posters are in place outside of this date, fines will be issued by the Council at the rate of €150 per poster.

Since this poster shown above also advertises the availability of now failed candidate, Senator Mr Paul Gavan, should the fine now be doubled?

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