Check Against Delivery
Topical Issue Debate
Wednesday, 22 February 2017.
“The need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to make a statement on the death by stabbing in Kilkenny City on the 15th of February 2012 of Kieran Monaghan, Durrow, Co. Laois.”
Deputy Seán Fleming T.D.
“To raise with the Minister for Justice the case of the death of Kieran Monahan, Durrow, Co. Laois on 15 February 2013 and to have this case reviewed.”
Deputy Brian Stanley T.D.
A Cheann Comhairle
On behalf of the Tánaiste who, unfortunately, cannot be here today, I want to thank the Deputies for raising this important matter.
The Tánaiste is, of course, aware of the reports surrounding this tragic case and sympathises greatly with the family and friends of the victim. I am sure that everyone in this House is conscious of the very serious impact of violent crime on victims and their families.
The Tánaiste is advised by the Garda authorities that the incident in question was the subject of an investigation by An Garda Síochána in 2012. A file was then submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who directed there be ‘no prosecution’ in this case.
The Deputies will appreciate that criminal investigations are properly dealt with by An Garda Síochána in the first instance and the Tánaiste has no role in particular investigations. It must be also stressed that the DPP is an independent body, who makes decisions as to whether or not a person should be prosecuted and for what offence. While the Tánaiste appreciates the ongoing distress of the family and friends in the aftermath of this tragedy, it is not open to the Tánaiste to intervene in relation to the DPP's decisions in individual cases. However, it is worth noting that there is provision to allow for certain people, including a victims’ family, to seek reasons for a decision made by the DPP. I understand that details of the procedures in this regard are available from the Office of the DPP.
This tragic case highlights the trauma and damage which can occur where knives are used in dispute situations. There is a robust legal framework in place in relation to the illegal use of knives. Under the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009, the maximum penalty for possessing a knife in a public place without good reason or lawful authority was increased from one to five years. An Garda Síochána also have an extended power of search without warrant in relation to knives and offensive weapons.
However, it should be noted that many incidents involving knives occur in domestic settings and often with a degree of spontaneity, which increases the challenges for preventative policing and enforcement.
At an operational level, An Garda Síochána pro-actively target public disorder and anti-social behaviour, including knife-related crime through the strategic deployment of Garda resources. In this regard, Detective Units and Divisional Crime Task Forces may be utilised to provide a high visibility presence in areas such as late night bars, to deter and detect possible altercations.
Finally, the accelerated programme of Garda recruitment underlines the Government commitment to tackling all forms of criminality and providing communities with visible and effective policing.