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Ó Broin calls on Tánaiste Fitzgerald to give victims’ families a voice in reform of sentencing

23 February, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to give victims’ families a voice in the reform of sentencing for offenders.

Speaking today in the Dáil during questions on promised legislation, Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Yesterday outside the Dáil, the Irish Road Victims Association held a moving vigil displaying 188 photographs of people killed by reckless drivers.

“One of those photographs was of Marsia Lieghio who was tragically killed in a hit and run at the Fonthill Road in 2005 aged just 16. The driver in this case had previous convictions for drunk and unlicensed driving but only served 10 months.

“The Irish Road Victims Association is a NGO that supports those bereaved or injured by road collisions. The group campaigns for justice for road crash victims. One of the key asks of this group is for relatives and victims of road crashes to have a louder voice in judicial proceedings.

“In the Programme for a Partnership Government, there is a commitment to bring forward legislation to reform sentencing for offenders. One of the key recommendations of the Law Reform Commission is for a Sentencing Council to be established to provide guidance to judges as to the appropriate sentence for offences.

 “I urged the government to urgently implement these proposals and to bring forward legislation that would provide greater clarity in sentencing and that would provide victims’ families with greater input in the judicial process.

“Unfortunately, there seems to be active industry opposition to the progressive proposals already in train to amend drink driving laws.  Sinn Féin has consistently stated that there should be a zero alcohol limit for drink driving.

“'In response to my question, Minister Fitzgerald committed both to enacting reform and including the voices of victims in any such reform. While her commitment is welcome, families need action and the Minister needs to move quickly on this issue.” 

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