A Church of Ireland clergyman from Donegal has called for the armed raiders who held up a Post Office in St Johnston last week to be “given the birch and made do hard labour”.
In a letter to the Donegal News, Canon David Crooks referred to the masked men, who threatened the young woman behind the counter with baseball bats, as “vermin”.
He wrote: “As a public figure in this community, I feel it my duty to speak out about this incident.
“The judiciary and the gardaí need to be given the teeth to fight these vermin and deal with them effectively. They need to be dealt with appropriately. They should be imprisoned indefinitely, at least until it can be proved that they pose no further threat to any law-abiding community. They should be given the birch and made to hard labour.”
Canon Crooks continued: “Now, I know that all sorts of well intentioned people will say this is old fashioned and harsh.
“However these lunatics will stop at nothing themselves in their criminal activities.
“This is a war and it might be fought. If we continue with this ‘softly, softly’ approach, these criminals will continue to go without realistic punishments when they are caught, and just laugh at a Law which they think is ineffective and impotent. Enough is enough, Mr Justice,” he concluded.
This is not the first time that Canon Crooks has made such remarks. In 2008, after vandals attacked his church in Carrigans, he told BBC radio that these types of criminals should be birched or sent to military camps.