Under new law, legislation is to be brought forward by Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond in the new year, a mandatory six-month sentence is to be handed down to anyone who attacks a garda, paramedic or firefighter.
Increase of Attacks Against Front-Line Workers
The proposed legislation by Neale Richmond, which will impose a mandatory six-month sentence or two years for a more serious offence, comes as the number of attacks on frontline workers increased in the past number of years. The Dublin-based TD has described the rise of these attacks in recent years as “worrying”.
“An attack on a garda or a paramedic as they simply go out doing their job is an attack on all of us. People, rightly, want to see such attacks met with appropriate punishments, not just suspended sentences, fines or warnings,” Mr Richmond said.
“In 2021 we saw a firework shot into the face of a garda, we saw firefighters attacked with stones as they put out a bonfire and we saw paramedics assaulted as they tended to an injured person.
“This behaviour is simply not acceptable, and people rightly want to see justice in these cases.”
According to statistics from the Garda Representative Association (GRA), incidents of violence against garda while on duty have been recorded over 4,200 times in the last five years. Neale Richmond further claimed that 608 of these attacks took place in the first nine months of 2021 alone.
8,867 Assaults Against HSE Staff
8,867 assaults were recorded in relation to HSE staff last year, with nearly half of these attacks being committed against nurses.
“These workers put themselves at risk every day to protect us, they do not deserve to receive harassment in return, and we must do more to prevent them,” Mr Richmond said.
“To prevent a further rise in these cases, action must be taken and an example made of those who commit these crimes.”
Mr Richmond went on to say that ensuring those who assault a frontline worker are brought to justice is crucial in dissuading others from committing such acts, and that reaffirming the commitment to protecting those who keep our society safe was the least that they deserved.
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