Gardaí want life sentences for garda deaths

Gardaí are demanding life sentences for anyone found guilty of killing an officer following the death of Garda Robbie McCallion in Letterkenny.

Gardaí are demanding life sentences for anyone found guilty of killing an officer following the death of Garda Robbie McCallion in Letterkenny.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) called for the move at their annual conference in Mayo.

Damien McCarthy, president of the association, said increasing violence against gardaí requires police protection measures similar to those in Britain and the United States.

In particular, he called for anyone convicted of the manslaughter of a garda to be “dealt with by the most severest of penalties”.

“An attack on a member of the Garda Siochana has to be treated differently,” he said. Mr McCarthy said the death of Garda Robbie McCallion, 29, after being hit by a car while on duty in Letterkenny, two years ago had struck a chord with the force’s grassroots.

A 19-year-old man, Jamie McGrenaghan, of Gortnatraw, Kerrykeel, who was trying flee a garda roadblock at the time, was acquitted of the manslaughter of Garda McCallion, and was jailed for six years for dangerous driving causing death.

The GRA president said the judge in the case, John O’Hagan, was forced to stick rigidly to the existing law when instructing the jury to consider their verdict.

Donegal gardaí have also called for a change to the way court imposed fines are collected.

A motion from gardaí in the county has called for for the Revenue Commissioners to be tasked with the collection of court-imposed fines.

They also want court-imposed fines to be linked to the personal tax record and PPS number of convicted people with interest and penalties for non-payment.

Donegal-based Garda Odhrán Mc Bride told the conference the current system is caught up in bureaucracy and is a drain on resources.

He said people are arrested for non-payment of fines and sent to prison only to be quickly released.