McDonald raises Galway foster home rape case in the Dáil and calls on Taoiseach to back introduction of sentencing guidelines

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has urged the Taoiseach to back the introduction of sentencing guidelines and the establishment of a Sentencing Committee.

Teachta McDonald made the call at Leaders’ Questions as she raised the case of three young women who subjected to rape and abuse in their foster home in Galway between the years 2003-2007.

The perpetuator was convicted of twenty-three charges and sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment, with one suspended.

Teachta McDonald said;

“I don’t think anybody with an ounce of common sense or compassion would argue that this sentence is proportionate or that it represents justice.

“I have asked you on a number of occasions to consider the introduction of sentencing guidelines that would be drafted by a sentencing committee. Making such a proposal does not encroach on the separation of powers or the autonomy of the bench. It would, however, ensure that prison sentences are proportionate to the crime committed.

“Our Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has tabled amendments to the Judicial Council Bill in line with these proposals. Sinn Féin is being constructive. We want to work with the Government on resolving the issues.

“The government must take into account how badly these young women, and many more, have been failed by the justice system.

“I believe that these amendments are critical to achieving the best possible outcome in the interests of the public at large and, in particular, for the victims of rape and sexual abuse.

“Taoiseach, will now give commitment that the government will support these amendments?”

Teachta McDonald welcomed the indications of support for sentencing guidelines given by the Taoiseach in his response and she said; “We now need action. The Minister for Justice should support the Sinn Féin amendments.”