Tougher penalties needed for those who attack elderly

North West MEP, Jim Higgins, has called for a stern action against the ‘brutal criminals’ who target elderly and vulnerable citizens in their homes.

North West MEP, Jim Higgins, has called for a stern action against the ‘brutal criminals’ who target elderly and vulnerable citizens in their homes.

“There has been a series of violent attacks on the elderly recently, and particularly in connection with burglaries. Older members of society, like all citizens, have a right to feel safe in their own homes and in their daily lives,” said Mr Higgins.

“In some cases, brutal criminals are breaking into the homes of pensioners and not only robbing them, but seriously injuring them in the process.

“We are dealing with the very lowest form of criminality here, be it in rural Ireland or in our towns and cities. These people have no respect for anyone and need to be reminded that the justice system will not tolerate these attacks.”

Mr Higgins has written to the Minister for Justice to express his concern: “The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, is well aware of the seriousness of these aggravated burglaries and the impact such incidents have on victims. The Gardai are determined to apprehend the culprits and the courts system can hand out heavy sentences when required.

“However, the government is currently awaiting a report from the Law Commission on mandatory sentencing for certain types of crime and I have asked the Minister to consider the gravity of these crimes in the context of that debate over the coming months

“I singled out the various community alert schemes in operation which are to be commended for helping to raise security awareness among the general public. Perhaps the government could support such measures further.”

Mr Higgins’ comments follow the European Parliament’s recent adoption of new legislative proposals to support victims of crime across the EU.