Swift action is needed to deal with the rise in assaults against Gardaí and other frontline workers, according to Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond.
Deputy Richmond will submit a Private Members Motion to the Oireachtas after the Easter recess that would see the Government legislate to introduce mandatory minimum sentences on perpetrators who assault members of An Garda Síochána and other frontline workers.
The Dublin Rathdown TD said, “Over the past few years there has been a worrying increase in assaults on frontline workers across Ireland.
“Gardaí have seen a 34% rise in assaults causing injury from 2015-2020, with 608 attacks taking place in the first nine months of 2021 alone.
“Healthcare staff are facing similar threats, with 4,636 assaults on doctors and nurses taking place in 2020, of which a staggering 97% were inflicted on nurses.
“These workers put themselves at risk on a daily basis to protect us, they do not deserve to receive harassment in return and we must do more to prevent these heinous attacks.
“To prevent a further rise in these cases, action must be taken and an example must be made of those who commit these crimes.
“This is why I will introduce a Private Members Motion to Dáil Éireann calling on a mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of assault against a frontline worker of six months for a lesser, or summary offence, and two years for an indictment, or more serious offence.
“Building stronger, safer communities is one of Minister Helen McEntee’s central priorities and this safety extends beyond residents to those who serve our communities; our Gardaí, hospital staff, paramedics and firefighters.
“Ensuring that those who assault these frontline workers are brought to justice will serve both to dissuade others from taking this course of action, but also to reaffirm our commitment to protecting those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.”
Deputy Richmond continued, “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have all been encouraged to show our support to frontline workers who sacrificed so much to protect us throughout the worst of the restrictions, and now we have a chance to protect these workers into the future.
“The mission of An Garda Síochána is ‘Keeping People Safe,’ something they have done for decades. We now have a chance to pay it back by keeping our Gardaí safe.
“This is the least our frontline heroes deserve,” Deputy Richmond concluded.