Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform

Ever since Dick Spring was a junior minister in Law Reform in 1981, “Law Reform” has been a central plank of the objectives of the Department of Justice. Despite being incorporated into the official name, by 2010, ten people per day are jailed every day for the non-payment of fines. In the first 9 months of 2009, 3,366 people have been so jailed and a further 157 have been jailed for not paying a civil debt. Minister Dermot Ahern claims that jail should be a last resort for such cases. However, because he has the power, it is clear that Minister Ahern agrees with the imposition of imprisonment in these cases. Otherwise, he could “reform” these laws to offer alternatives.

Charlie Flanagan TD, a solicitor from Laois, has suggested that an Attachment of Earnings Order is a far more practical solution. Charlie has pointed out that the debt defaulters still owe the money when they leave
prison.

Violent crime should be the priority for prison sentences. Imprisonment as an option for financial crimes should be confined to monetary values over €1 million.