The Government has agreed to increase the maximum sentence which can be given to a person convicted of assault on a member of An Garda Síochána or emergency service workers.
The changes will see such incidents carry a maximum sentence of 12 years, increasing from seven years.
The proposal brought forward by Minister for Justice Simon Harris will amend the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, covering incidents where gardaí and emergency workers are assaulted or obstructed in the course of their work.
Hospital staff, prison officers, members of the fire brigade, ambulance workers and members of the Defence Forces are included under the changes.
‘Zero tolerance’ approach needed to tackle assault…
Outlining the legislation, Mr Harris said assaults on frontline workers are “inexcusable”, adding it shows “flagrant disregard for the rule of law”.
“No person who puts on a uniform and goes to work with the ultimate mission of keeping members of the public safe deserves to be targeted, attacked or obstructed while doing that job,” the Minister said.
He confirmed the legislation applies to “any assault — any unlawful use of force, or threat of force, direct or indirect — against a Garda or emergency worker”, including ramming their vehicle.
The Bill has passed all stages in the Dáil and will now proceed to the second stage in the Seanad, which is scheduled for May 23rd.