Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald to clarify why it has taken 10 years to enforce a provision of the Criminal Justice Act that sanctions the use of electronic tagging. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister replied to his Parliamentary Question regarding the use of electronic tagging by An Garda Síochána:
“The Minister in her reply makes it absolutely clear that while the Act of 2007 permits a court granting bail to make it a condition that the person’s movements are monitored electronically, this provision was never brought into force.
This is completely bizarre and it essentially makes a mockery of the legislation that was presumably enacted to deal with this issue over a decade ago.
Electronic Tagging has been proven to greatly reduce the likelihood of breaches of bail conditions, breaches which in many instances has led to serious assault and violence being perpetrated upon innocent victims.
We need to find out why this provision for tagging been ignored especially in light of the fact that over the last ten years we have seen greatly reduced garda numbers and an absolutely astronomical cost of €250 million being generated with respect to criminal legal aid from 2011-2015.
The Minister informs me that while The Criminal Justice Bill 2016 will be enabled to make electronic monitoring a condition of bail only on the application of the prosecution, the Bill only completed Committee Stage on 5 April.
How much longer must victims wait until electronic tagging becomes a reality and why is it not being prioritised given its capacity to help provide victims and communities with some kind of additional security?” concluded Deputy McGrath.