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Children (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages (Continued)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 887 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy James Reilly: Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly] The effect of the amendment as drafted would be to impose a maximum period of remand in custody of three months for all children. This would create a blunt rule which would apply in all cases relating to children in the criminal justice system, irrespective of the circumstances where a remand in custody may be considered necessary by the courts. This should not occur in the case of minor offences but if a 16 or 17 year old is accused of murder or manslaughter and the Deputy wants to impose a maximum remand of three months when court hearings are not within our control and it is necessary to have a Garda investigation to gather evidence, I do not believe this is wise. For these reasons I am not accepting the amendment.

I want to emphasise another point the Deputy alluded to, which might be the subject of further amendments. We absolutely want to ensure that detention, whether remand or otherwise, is the course of last resort and should never be because Tusla's assistance is required and awaited or because there are child protection issues. That would not be appropriate and will not occur under this Bill.

Deputy Clare Daly: Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly The measures the Minister outlined that are available already to young people are welcome. I do not object to them. I broadly welcome this Bill. We are trying to make it better. We are not outlawing the possibility of a young person's being remanded in custody. We are trying to ensure the State is forced to act and the onus is on it to expedite the trial. If a young person is accused of a very serious crime, the Minister says the Garda might need time to get the evidence. If that young person's liberty has been taken and he or she has been brought before the courts and charged, I should hope the Garda already had a significant body of evidence. All the amendment states is that the person should be brought to trial and, by all means, if the court decides the person's liberty needs to be taken and he or she needs to be detained, that should be done, but recommendation 20 of the Council of Europe 2003 states that young people should be remanded in custody for no longer than six months before the commencement of their trial. This happens in England and Spain, and in Portugal it is three months. There is nothing bizarre, outlandish or revolutionary about what is being done here and it is in compliance with the idea of expediting trials, which we should strive for. The Minister says everybody has a right to an expeditious trial. They do but that does not always happen. Making it unlawful to detain a young person on remand for longer than three months and specifying that in law will help because those cases should be processed more quickly given the age of the young person.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly We all want the best outcomes for children. We do not want children to be detained unless it is absolutely essential. As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, my focus is on children. As a politician, however, I, like the Deputy, have to take into consideration the victims. If a person who lost a loved one through manslaughter or murder saw the perpetrator get off on the basis of the technicality of three months being the law, there would be a very serious situation on our hands. I would hope that in practice there will be very short periods of detention for remand. The evidence points to the fact that we see it as the very last resort because so few people who are on remand are convicted because other methods are found to deal with their situation.

Deputy Clare Daly: Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly It is not a question of the perpetrator of a crime getting off on a technicality. That is the wrong issue. It is a question of somebody who has been charged with a crime having a right to an expeditious trial in order that the courts can then decide if the person is guilty. It is a question of people being held at a time when they have not been convicted and we do not know whether they are guilty because the courts have not adjudicated. This happens as a matter of course in many European countries and is recommended by the European Council.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 40; Níl, 68.

Níl
Information on Bobby Aylward   Zoom on Bobby Aylward   Aylward, Bobby. Information on James Bannon   Zoom on James Bannon   Bannon, James.
Information on Richard Boyd Barrett   Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett   Boyd Barrett, Richard. Information on Tom Barry   Zoom on Tom Barry   Barry, Tom.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan   Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan   Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton   Zoom on Richard Bruton   Bruton, Richard.
Information on John Browne   Zoom on John Browne   Browne, John. Information on Ray Butler   Zoom on Ray Butler   Butler, Ray.
Information on Dara Calleary   Zoom on Dara Calleary   Calleary, Dara. Information on Jerry Buttimer   Zoom on Jerry Buttimer   Buttimer, Jerry.
Information on Joan Collins   Zoom on Joan Collins   Collins, Joan. Information on Catherine Byrne   Zoom on Catherine Byrne   Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Michael Colreavy   Zoom on Michael Colreavy   Colreavy, Michael. Information on Eric J. Byrne   Zoom on Eric J. Byrne   Byrne, Eric.
Information on Barry Cowen   Zoom on Barry Cowen   Cowen, Barry. Information on Ciaran Cannon   Zoom on Ciaran Cannon   Cannon, Ciarán.
Information on Clare Daly   Zoom on Clare Daly   Daly, Clare. Information on Joe Carey   Zoom on Joe Carey   Carey, Joe.
Information on Timmy Dooley   Zoom on Timmy Dooley   Dooley, Timmy. Information on Paudie Coffey   Zoom on Paudie Coffey   Coffey, Paudie.
Information on Dessie Ellis   Zoom on Dessie Ellis   Ellis, Dessie. Information on Michael Conaghan   Zoom on Michael Conaghan   Conaghan, Michael.
Information on Martin Ferris   Zoom on Martin Ferris   Ferris, Martin. Information on Paul Connaughton   Zoom on Paul Connaughton   Connaughton, Paul J.
Information on Michael Fitzmaurice   Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice   Fitzmaurice, Michael. Information on Noel Coonan   Zoom on Noel Coonan   Coonan, Noel.
Information on Tom Fleming   Zoom on Tom Fleming   Fleming, Tom. Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy   Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy   Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
Information on John Halligan   Zoom on John Halligan   Halligan, John. Information on Michael Creed   Zoom on Michael Creed   Creed, Michael.
Information on Seamus Healy   Zoom on Seamus Healy   Healy, Seamus. Information on Patrick Deering   Zoom on Patrick Deering   Deering, Pat.
Information on Michael Healy-Rae   Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae   Healy-Rae, Michael. Information on Regina Doherty   Zoom on Regina Doherty   Doherty, Regina.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn   Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn   Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. Information on Paschal Donohoe   Zoom on Paschal Donohoe   Donohoe, Paschal.
Information on Charlie McConalogue   Zoom on Charlie McConalogue   McConalogue, Charlie. Information on Robert Dowds   Zoom on Robert Dowds   Dowds, Robert.
Information on Mary Lou McDonald   Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald   McDonald, Mary Lou. Information on Andrew Doyle   Zoom on Andrew Doyle   Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Finian McGrath   Zoom on Finian McGrath   McGrath, Finian. Information on Bernard Durkan   Zoom on Bernard Durkan   Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on John McGuinness   Zoom on John McGuinness   McGuinness, John. Information on Damien English   Zoom on Damien English   English, Damien.
Information on Sandra McLellan   Zoom on Sandra McLellan   McLellan, Sandra. Information on Frank Feighan   Zoom on Frank Feighan   Feighan, Frank.
Information on Micheál Martin   Zoom on Micheál Martin   Martin, Micheál. Information on Frances Fitzgerald   Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald   Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Peter Mathews   Zoom on Peter Mathews   Mathews, Peter. Information on Peter Fitzpatrick   Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick   Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Information on Catherine Murphy   Zoom on Catherine Murphy   Murphy, Catherine. Information on Terence Flanagan   Zoom on Terence Flanagan   Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Paul Murphy   Zoom on Paul Murphy   Murphy, Paul. Information on Eamon Gilmore   Zoom on Eamon Gilmore   Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Denis Naughten   Zoom on Denis Naughten   Naughten, Denis. Information on Brendan Griffin   Zoom on Brendan Griffin   Griffin, Brendan.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin   Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin   Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Noel Harrington   Zoom on Noel Harrington   Harrington, Noel.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív   Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív   Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Martin Heydon   Zoom on Martin Heydon   Heydon, Martin.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl   Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl   Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Heather Humphreys   Zoom on Heather Humphreys   Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh   Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh   Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kevin Humphreys   Zoom on Kevin Humphreys   Humphreys, Kevin.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan   Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan   O'Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Derek Keating   Zoom on Derek Keating   Keating, Derek.
Information on Thomas Pringle   Zoom on Thomas Pringle   Pringle, Thomas. Information on Paul Kehoe   Zoom on Paul Kehoe   Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Shane P.N. Ross   Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross   Ross, Shane. Information on Alan Kelly   Zoom on Alan Kelly   Kelly, Alan.
Information on Róisín Shortall   Zoom on Róisín Shortall   Shortall, Róisín. Information on Seán Kenny   Zoom on Seán Kenny   Kenny, Seán.
Information on Brendan Smith   Zoom on Brendan Smith   Smith, Brendan. Information on Seán Kyne   Zoom on Seán Kyne   Kyne, Seán.
Information on Brian Stanley   Zoom on Brian Stanley   Stanley, Brian. Information on Anthony Lawlor   Zoom on Anthony Lawlor   Lawlor, Anthony.
Information on Robert Troy   Zoom on Robert Troy   Troy, Robert. Information on John Lyons   Zoom on John Lyons   Lyons, John.
Information on Mick Wallace   Zoom on Mick Wallace   Wallace, Mick. Information on Helen McEntee   Zoom on Helen McEntee   McEntee, Helen.
  Information on Gabrielle McFadden   Zoom on Gabrielle McFadden   McFadden, Gabrielle.
  Information on Dinny McGinley   Zoom on Dinny McGinley   McGinley, Dinny.
  Information on Joe McHugh   Zoom on Joe McHugh   McHugh, Joe.
  Information on Michael McNamara   Zoom on Michael McNamara   McNamara, Michael.
  Information on Michelle Mulherin   Zoom on Michelle Mulherin   Mulherin, Michelle.
  Information on Dara Murphy   Zoom on Dara Murphy   Murphy, Dara.
  Information on Dan Neville   Zoom on Dan Neville   Neville, Dan.
  Information on Derek Nolan   Zoom on Derek Nolan   Nolan, Derek.
  Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin   Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin   Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  Information on Patrick O'Donovan   Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan   O'Donovan, Patrick.
  Information on Fergus O'Dowd   Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd   O'Dowd, Fergus.
  Information on John O'Mahony   Zoom on John O'Mahony   O'Mahony, John.
  Information on Jan O'Sullivan   Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan   O'Sullivan, Jan.
  Information on Willie Penrose   Zoom on Willie Penrose   Penrose, Willie.
  Information on John Perry   Zoom on John Perry   Perry, John.
  Information on Ann Phelan   Zoom on Ann Phelan   Phelan, Ann.
  Information on Ruairí Quinn   Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   Quinn, Ruairí.
  Information on Pat Rabbitte   Zoom on Pat Rabbitte   Rabbitte, Pat.
  Information on James Reilly   Zoom on James Reilly   Reilly, James.
  Information on Brendan Ryan   Zoom on Brendan Ryan   Ryan, Brendan.
  Information on Arthur Spring   Zoom on Arthur Spring   Spring, Arthur.
  Information on Emmet Stagg   Zoom on Emmet Stagg   Stagg, Emmet.
  Information on David Stanton   Zoom on David Stanton   Stanton, David.
  Information on Billy Timmins   Zoom on Billy Timmins   Timmins, Billy.
  Information on Joanna Tuffy   Zoom on Joanna Tuffy   Tuffy, Joanna.
  Information on Liam Twomey   Zoom on Liam Twomey   Twomey, Liam.
  Information on Jack Wall   Zoom on Jack Wall   Wall, Jack.
  Information on Alex White   Zoom on Alex White   White, Alex.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Clare Daly and Sandra McLellan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Amendment declared lost.


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