129. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of crimes committed in 2018 to date on a monthly basis by offenders while out on bail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42729/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As outlined in my response to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question No. 160 of 5 July 2018, a decision to grant bail in a particular case is a matter for the presiding Judge, who is, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of his or her judicial functions. There is also a Constitutional presumption in favour of the grant of bail as, under Irish Law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Criminal Justice Act 2017 strengthens the operation of the bail system with the aim of making the law as effective as possible in protecting the public against crimes committed by persons on bail.
Under the Act, a Court, in considering an application for bail, is required to have regard to persistent serious offending by an applicant for bail and the nature and seriousness of any danger presented by the grant of bail to a person charged with an offence that carries a penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or more. The Court will also have the power, in certain cases, to hear evidence from the victim of an offence before a decision on bail is taken.
Where an accused person is granted bail, the Act provides for stricter bail terms for repeat serious offenders, strengthens Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail, increases the use of curfews, and, where requested by Gardaí, allows for the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.
I have requested a report from the Garda authorities on the information sought by the Deputy and I will contact him directly when the report is to hand.