Criminal Justice Bill, 1983: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I do not know why this Bill is before us. The people, like myself, who have been elected are not happy with this Bill. The Garda are not happy with it. The legal profession are totally unhappy with it. The only result in the end when it passes us will be that it will get at people whom we have legislation at the moment to deal with and it will not do anything to deal with the real criminals in our society. As always, they will have the professional back-up which other people have not.

It is complicated and will have far-reaching effects. Indeed, it may not have any results at all. I would like the Minister to read what we have said, as he is not present. I do not understand why he has another Criminal Justice Bill before us when, as I understand it, he has not yet implemented the last one which he put before the House in the last session. I will quote later what he said on the evening he finished his reply to the Second Stage of that Bill and how quickly he wanted the Criminal Justice (Community Services) Bill, 1983 implemented. I understand it is not yet working.

Nobody seems to think this Bill will have any benefit except to get at certain people in our society, and for the life of me I do not understand it. I have a feeling that if Members of this House, as happened in the other House, commented on the Criminal Justice Bill and did not say it was a great piece of legislation, and that all of it was necessary, it would be said we are backing the people in the streets who were committing crime. As far as I am concerned, and I am quite sure my colleagues who have spoken before me, nothing could be further from the truth. We want to see justice, but it would be important that the Minister would remember that the key word in this piece of legislation is "justice".

We must ensure that after the debate in this House and, I presume, with further amendments, the Bill will leave this House in a form that will demonstrate to the community that justice practised in the right spirit. I do not know how many times before I sit down I will have to say that I support dealing with criminals, but I do not support legislation, whether it be by this Government or a Government of which I would be a member, that is, the next Government, and pretend it would create a more just society or a more caring society. It is our duty as elected representatives of the people to see that everyone gets justice.

It is our duty to see that criminals, no matter how great or how small their crimes, will be dealt with. The sadness of the Bill before us, as I see it, is that the public perception of it is that after it becomes law and the Garda get the extra powers, we will not have any more crime. Of course, that is the greatest load of rubbish. If we are honest, we must admit that this Bill will not do that. At least to ourselves we must be true.

There is quite a lot to be said about it. A great part of it is the role of the Garda and the community. It may not be a popular thing to say — I am noted for saying unpopular things at times; I do not know who will pay the price, perhaps myself in the end — but there is a gap between the Garda and the community. Until that gap is bridged — and the Garda force have to play a greater role than the community to bridge that gap — we will not have it like the old days when people saw the Garda as their friends. After we got our independence this same gap was there. It was closed then and the gardaí became the friends of the people. I am not saying it was the individual garda's fault that the gap between the Garda and the community was created. Maybe it was the Department of Justice taking the Garda off the beat and putting them in fast driven cars. One does not see gardaí on motor bikes any more. Also, society changed and perhaps the Garda saw themselves in a different role. The gap between the Garda and the community will have to be closed before we get results in dealing with the crime rate.

The Minister will tell me, of course, that since he became Minister he has brought back the guards on the beat and all that. You do not see them that much on the beat, even in rural Ireland. Recently they have commenced to put them back on the beat and maybe this will help to bridge the gap which I am concerned about.

There is a policy of transferring guards of all ranks on promotion. The first Commissioner, Michael Strange, defined the role of the Civic Guard as a moral force depending for successful performance of its duties not on arms or numbers but on morals, and the force, as representatives of the civil authority depended completely for its existence on the free will of the people. That is what I have been trying to say. That was the first Commissioner, Michael Strange, talking about how important it was to have communication between people and the guards.

One guard has told me that the high incidence of transfers is a major contributory factor in the decline in community relations. If a guard seeks promotion to sergeant rank, he can then be transferred 50 to 150 miles away from the station. You have here a disruption of his wife and family and the children's attendance at school. More important, you have lost the local knowledge that that man had built up over the years in the local community. Therefore, and this is direct from the guards themselves, you have very few good guards seeking promotion because they do not want transfers.

The Minister will say that the guards cannot dictate policy. If they are good enough they will be promoted and it is too bad if the local communities where they did very well and were good communicators lose them. What is actually happening on the ground is that many of these man who should be promoted from guards to sergeants are not asking for promotion or putting themselves in line for promotion at all.

I would propose here, and the suggestion is direct from the guards themselves, that maybe we could have a system of transferring them in a regional method. It is something which should be looked at. Recently guards were transferred from the bottom end of the country right up to the north and ones in Donegal transferred down again. I am not talking about reasons for transfers or political interference in transfers. I am talking about a system that should be looked at because they are guards who have complained to me that they intend remaining just guards because if they took promotion they would be transferred automatically. I am saying it because I think it is something that maybe the Minister or his senior officials could look at.

There is quite a bit in this Bill about the rights of persons. There is no doubt they could get into a lot of trouble by not understanding some of the legal phraseology in the legislation. I would worry about the questions that might be asked right away after arrest. When a person is taken to a barracks, even though he may not be foolish and may indeed be far from being fooled, he could get into trouble by not knowing exactly his rights or what the direct effect of this Bill will have on such a person.

Again, as in all walks of life, you could just have one person in a barracks who would happen to be the wrong person and you would have an innocent person in the barracks until the courts proved him not guilty. We have these types of people — unfortunately, or fortunately, we have not too many of them — and you might have the wrong person in the barracks for some of this questioning. This gets me to the right of the person and his solicitor, which is further on in the Bill.

The day the Minister came into this Chamber with his Second Stage, much amended, speech, I watched a film on television later that night dealing with the fifties and the unemployment and the sadness of that time. It is probably an awful thing to say; we have our ups and downs in Irish history but we always seem to be able to deal with them. We certainly are in a troublesome time at the moment. Having looked at that film and remembering some of the things the Minister had said in his Second Stage speech on the same day, I submit it will take a lot of will and more than just coming in here with the Bill pretending that it has all the answers to deal with crime. It has not. I would be wrong for me to stand up here and say the Bill is grand or to remain silent.

To get back to the unemployment and the sadness, Senator Higgins last week referred to this and said that the nation should not get bogged down or play up the amount of crime and not talk about the good things at the moment. Really for somebody elected and serving in public life full-time. I do not think there is too much good out there at the moment, but I agree with Senator Higgins that we should not be the ones to throw in the sponge. Regardless of the criticism we get, if we do it many people will feel that if the politicians say, "I am just finished. Unemployment is gone so high, crime has taken over," they will throw in the sponge and it will be a sad day.

What I am trying to say is that people who were elected in the fifties faced a challenge and I do not see much difference from the challenge that faces us this evening. Unfortunately, many of the changes that we have witnessed, unemployment and social problems, have increased. The standard of living, has fallen. I am not going to point to anyone who suggested why that might be because I believe the reason for all the unemployment is that there has been a change in family lifestyles. I must say that I do not intend to try to turn back the clock and say that we can change the lifestyle of Ireland today, but there is nobody at home when some of those kids go home from school and even when the teenagers go home.

This is getting back to some of the social problems we have in Ireland. When people in responsible positions, like politicians, talk about bringing in legislation to allow everybody in a household to work — I am talking about the father and the mother — we must remember then that there is nobody at home when those adults go back. We are talking in a sense that there is a fall down in discipline. The fall down in discipline goes right across the board from the teenager up. To discipline anybody now, whether she or he does the right or the wrong thing, is something we should not do it appears.

On 16 February 1981 the Garda college was established in Templemore. At the time it had three objectives: to provide higher training for officers of the Garda Síochána — inspectors, superintendents, the chief superintendents — to organise training for inspectors, superintendents, and chief superintendants and to promote police related research. From talking to the men directly involved, this college has practically failed in those three objectives. I understand that there are 11,400 gardai in the force and to deal with that number of personnel there should be several higher management courses. At present they have one refresher course for superintendents. That consists of 15 in a class per week from 2 p.m. on Monday to 2 p.m. on Friday. The opinion of those man — it has been brought to the notice of the present and former Ministers — is that there is no way that such a course is adequate to bring results.

I suggest that a comprehensive course of 12 months duration should be obligatory for all newly promoted inspectors. That should be regarded as a minimum. A stark beginning has to be made and it should be the training of newly promoted inspectors, who will be, of course, the superintendents, chief superintendents and future Assistant Commissioners. It is the opinion of the Garda force that the Garda Commissioner is not totally committed to this development. Perhaps that is where the crux lies or maybe it is that the funds are not there.

That brings me to the training of a garda. For quite some time I have had strong views about this and I do not know if many of my colleagues will agree with my views. I do not understand in the Ireland of today, with the Garda playing the important role they are playing why the Government, whether it be this Government or the last, do not see that a garda should have the same training as a person going to the Army cadet college.

I have always felt that. Bearing in mind what the gardaí of today, and, indeed yesterday and, more so, of tomorrow, have to do I am convinced of the need for such a college. I know something about the Army cadet college because I know people who went through it. I do not understand why the Minister does not, with the Minister for Defence, plan the setting-up of a college to train Garda recruits to exactly the same status or degree as persons joining the Army. One has to be very careful when distinguishing between lads and girls. At one time one could say the lads and that was in order but now one has to be more careful.

I suggest that rather than having this ridiculously short 22 weeks of training and then claiming that that guard is ready to deal with everyday police problems we should have a college for gardaí similar to that for the Army. There was a time when gardaí were not thought of as having the same status as a cadet in the Military College. We need a college for the gardaí and we need it now. This has been suggested. I understand that the college is not being used properly and the Minister should take a closer look at that and establish a proper training college for gardaí.

We do not see the Army in the same role as the Garda, and maybe we should. Some of the Army personnel would not come out of the Military College and make the same mistakes some young gardaí make after coming out of Templemore. We are asking the Garda to do a very tough job and it is not going to get any easier but there has been no change in the system of training. One must consider how long it takes to train a nurse or teacher but why we as legislators think a Garda recruit will be properly prepared for any situation after 22 weeks in Templemore has me baffled. Why is it that a Minister for Justice has not proposed a change? Former Minister for Justice, Deputy Gerry Collins, proposed a helicopter section in the Garda Síochána and I would like to ask the Minister, Deputy Noonan, why that proposal was dropped by the Government. Deputy Gerry Collins' commitment to bring in helicopters had the blessing of everybody. Support for that proposal was contained in the Garda News of June 1984 which stated:

A police car is able to patrol about one-fifth of a square mile per hour while a helicopter can patrol an area of 7.5 square miles with equal effectiveness.

If two helicopters were to be leased for around £350,000, that would constitute a mere 6 per cent of the overall Garda transportation budget.

It is in such searches that the helicopters makes most savings in manpower.

Last year the Garda Síochána spent just over £7 million on transportation, almost £3 million of which went on the purchase of new vehicles. If two helicopters were to be leased for around £350,000 that would constitute a mere 6 per cent of the overall Garda transportation budget. This would by no means be an exorbitant figure for the type of benefit likely to be obtained.

Why was the idea dropped? It had the blessing of everybody. It is possible that the whole idea came from former Minister Gerry Collins or the Garda. The benefit of such a service is clear and it should be looked at again.

I was pleased to note that the Minister told the Dáil that he wishes to ensure that the guilty are convicted and that the innocent would be at no risk. I would love to know where in the Bill the Minister finds that guarantee to the innocent and to us, that the criminals will be dealt with. For example, there is a requirement on a garda in charge of a station to inform a detained person of his right to call a solicitor. Likewise the garda in charge must inform the detained person of his right to have one other person informed of his whereabouts. I read a lot of what the Minister said in the Dáil and what he said in the Seanad in his Second Stage speech. I am sure that Minister Noonan hopes this will be done, but we have to have safeguards to ensure these obligations are carried out. A large responsibility for a detained person's safety and proper treatment is placed in the hands of a garda in a station. I would earnestly request that these people receive a proper briefing on their new role. This is getting back again to the training programme I spoke of earlier. I am not talking about a faded yellow circular sent to all stations. I am proposing that these men and women be brought together, even on a divisional basis, and the new additional role they must play and the responsibilities they carry in relation to these safeguards explained to them. There have been too many instances in the past of internal Garda communications breaking down. It must not be allowed to happen again.

We must insist on the Garda on a divisional level being brought together and brought up to date with the provisions of the new Bill and, indeed, with other legislation which exists concerning a person's right.

Certainly, there is scope for abuse. I have the utmost respect for the Minister but I am less than reassured by his remark in the Dáil when he said that "There are reasonable safeguards built in to avoid the possibility of abuse." With respect, unless he does this by bringing gardaí together to inform them of what is in this legislation concerning the right of people to a solicitor, there will not be any safeguards. We are all aware of how hard it is to contact a solicitor. Let us be honest. When dealing with solicitors, even when you do not want anything from them, or dealing with them as a client who will pay them for some ordinary service, one has to have an appointment. The solicitors are up on a higher plane and one has to make an appointment, even for criminal cases. When it is stated that the person taken to a station is asked to name a solicitor it must be remembered that quite a lot of people in towns and outlying areas may not have dealt with a solicitor before and just could not name one. It is solely the responsibility of the garda in charge of that station to deal with the solicitor for that client. I am not saying that the Garda would abuse this, but the terms of this legislation, rather than being explained in a faded document, will have to be dealt with in divisional areas.

I made reference earlier to the original Bill which the Minister put through this House and, indeed, the other House. When concluding his Second Stage speech on the Bill dealing with community services the Minister said he would reiterate that he considered that this Bill was important and progressive and would bring into our criminal justice system a new sanction which was fundamentally different from others.

It is possible he will come back and tell us that the terms of that legislation are in operation. I am not aware that they are. I hope in regard to the Bill before us, when it eventually goes from here and if the President signs it — that is if part of it is not declared unconstitutional — we might have action a little faster on it than we had on community services.

It is wrong to introduce legislation for legislation's sake. Since the State was founded any legislation introduced for that reason never proved to be good legislation. I am not convinced, having listened to speakers here and, indeed, to those committed Members in the other House, who after this Bill went through said they were not happy. It is wrong to come in here, or into the other House, and pretend that in implementing the Criminal Justice Bill we will cure all the crime and ills outside. That is wrong. This Bill will not do it.

Until the Minister introduces the complaints procedure the terms of the Bill will not be implemented at all. Derek Nally, who has retired as General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, in November 1983 said that as far as the complaints procedure was concerned we must wait and see. Now, in September 1984, Derek Nally and myself are still waiting to see because I understand the complaints procedure has not gone ahead. I understood the Minister will have to consult all sorts of people — maybe he will not consult anyone at all. The important thing about the complaints procedure is that the Minister — he got away with this in the other House — cannot implement the terms of the Bill and make them work until he brings in the complaints procedure. Perhaps I have it wrong. I am not a lawyer, but that is the way I see it. We are talking about giving increased powers to the Garda, but without the complaints procedure.

We talk about reducing the level of crime but we are not creating the necessary environment to do so. We are supposed to stand up here and welcome a piece of legislation which I do not see as solving any of the problems. Perhaps by the time the Second Stage of this Bill is finished the Minister may come in and tell us that he has set up the complaints procedure but he has to consult the Garda because the increased powers in the Bill lie dormant until the new complaints procedure is brought forward. Whoever is in charge now think they must be consulted before the complaints procedure is put through and that means a further delay in implementing this Bill.

It is now 1984, 21 years after the death of John F. Kennedy. At the time he tried to create a world where "all men are given equal opportunities, a world where trust replaced mistrust, a world where hope shone brighter than the darkness of hopelessness". I hope that what I have said in not supporting this legislation will not give the wrong slant to anybody. I have my reservations for the reasons I have given. If I thought it was going to help one person in not having their house broken into or their car stolen or if it would stop the greater crimes that are taking place in this country today I would stand up here and warmly welcome this legislation. Even if a Fianna Fáil Government were in power and if this Bill as it is were before this House I would still be critical of it.

With other speakers I wish to congratulate the Minister for bringing forward this Bill. It is a step in the right direction. In the past few weeks a great deal has been said about the Bill, and I would like to express my opinion about many of its provisions. Many Deputies have praised and welcomed the Bill. I have read perhaps every line of the Bill and perhaps it did not all make that much sense to me as a layman but I would say that it is long overdue. I am very surprised that many people in public life and elsewhere who profess to speak on behalf of others expressed reservations about certain provisions in the Bill. I do not believe we are living in normal times at the moment and I suppose we cannot expect normal legislation. Many of those who object to some of the provisions in the Bill must realise that it is nearly an emergency situation at the moment. No matter how harsh the Bill may seem to be, it is designed to deal with a chaotic situation. There is nothing to prevent this House from repealing any of the objectionable sections in it when we return to normal times, which I hope will not be too far away.

This Bill should have been introduced years ago. Now it is probably too little, too late because many serious crimes have taken place over the past few years. It almost seems as if Governments do not realise the seriousness of the problems until we are on the brink of chaos. We are today on the brink of complete collapse. Society has broken down whether we like it or not. Even if the provisions in the Bill were put into effect today I doubt very much that it would make much difference in a society where respect for other people's property, for the law, for authority and, above all, for each other has gone. Respect for the truth, integrity and honesty is gone and the question is how can we restore that respect in the immediate future.

The situation is very serious at the moment and something must be done. Tens of thousands of our people are losing respect for the parliamentary institutions. This may be a very sad thing to say but it is true. What will be left in three or four years if this trend continues? If we double the rate of decay of the past five years I do not think that many people will want to participate in our society at all. As parliamentarians we must take our share of the blame for allowing Irish society to decline to the extent it has declined. I believe the State is in danger in that regard. How often do we have to underline these facts? When can we address the responsible Ministers and Government and point out to them the great danger that exists at the moment? This danger is plain to everybody and the problem is now of frightening proportions.

I come from a small village in County Louth and my background is essentially rural, but the Louth constituency contains three urban areas, Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee. The people I represent are already troubled by the deep recession, accelerated by the drastic financial position which the country finds itself in and the problems and responsibility of bringing up families in an age of media-inspired uncertainty. Added to these problems have been the actual breakdown of law and order and the administration of justice. What has happened was virtually unnoticed over a period of about 15 years but with the benefit of hindsight one can look at the stark situation today as compared with 20 years ago. At that time no one would have imagined that young thugs would have battered and kicked a man to death in a public place in the city of Dublin and then go on to get a suspended sentence, that a suspended sentence for murder would not be regarded as that much out of the ordinary, and that drug traffickers found in possession of drugs would get off on technicalities. That would be unheard of 20 years ago. It would also be unheard of that a man convicted on his own confession of a double kidnapping and the theft of approximately £70,000 would be let off after a two-year sentence.

There has been a big growth in industrial and commercial enterprises to provide security not only for factories and businesses but for all private dwelling-houses and motor cars. Intimidation is so rife as to be virtually out of control and rioting in the city of Dublin and other areas is common. We have become used to this sort of performance and one hears constantly from the ordinary man in the street that law and order is in great danger of breaking down and that we will have chaos on our hands. Therefore one looks to this Bill in the hope that it will remedy the situation and that it will redress the balance. In normal times perhaps one could say that such a Bill would actually load the dice in favour of the authorities but these are not ordinary times. Law and order has broken down and it is about time we faced up to the reality of the situation and tried to redress the balance.

In such circumstances the only provision I would put in pursuit of the old principle of the presumption of innocence would be that the Bill must be reviewed every few years. We are back to the situation of law and order and respect for personal property. If the situation were less critical less drastic laws and procedures might suffice but that is not the case at the moment. I have no doubt that the small minority of people who engage in crime as a paying proposition are not unduly worried about this Bill. It imposes certain restrictions on them but the real problems are still with us and may not be affected by the Bill at all. I feel the Minister has been influenced by others to some extent. The genuine do-gooders — and we have many of them around in our society — are motivated by some vague theories of humanitarian concern but I suspect a certain amount of involvement in the part of various illegal and subversive organisations who are not genuine.

I have great reservation about what is happening at the moment in our country. Louth is no better or no worse than any other place; I would like to think it is no worse. There are certain things which I read into the Bill which I welcome. I welcome the provisions to give more powers to our gardaí. I would give them any powers they need if it would help to bring some of these people to justice. Perhaps that is not enough. I listened to some speakers here and in the other House. I listened with amazement to Senator Lanigan last week who told how he had received some injuries while attempting to stop people from stealing his car one day and he had to have a five-week stay in hospital as a result. Kind enough of the man — perhaps he was like Our Lord — he forgave the people and said he understood why they did it, that it was because of the sheer frustration they suffer these days. I do not share his view, I do not understand it. I just cannot understand the dramatic change that has come about in the youth of today. I am rearing some young people myself and I hope they will not be worse and I hope they will be better than some of the people I am talking about. I shudder to think of what is going to happen if we do not get to grips with this problem. I have to admire Senator Lanigan for saying he understood. However, saying you understand a person is like saying you are sympathising with him and certainly I would not go that far.

In recent times we saw a football match on our television screens and, sadly, we saw gardaí scurrying for cover. I thought that would never happen. I remember some years ago travelling through this city accompanied by a garda who was on duty in the city. He pointed out a few streets and he said, "You would not go down there at night on your own" and truly I did not believe him. I thought that day would never come when we would have to say that in the capital city of Ireland there were streets down which people could not go.

Some would claim now that you cannot go down them in daylight. I had an experience in this city during a recent by-election. When I arrived my canvassers had gone and I parked my car in the street. When I caught up with them they told me my car would not be there when I returned. I went back and saw some people too close to it for comfort and I was fortunate to get it away. A week later a new car belonging to my brother was stolen in that area and when it was found it was a write-off. We read in the newspapers that 70,000 cars were stolen in the first eight months of the year. Could anyone believe that such a thing could happen? Who is at fault in this situation? We are told that the cost of malicious damages will not be borne by county councils or local authorities. They had to shoulder that burden for a long time. I am not sure who is going to shoulder that burden but it will have to be shouldered by somebody. Somebody will have to get to grips with this problem. It is the taxpayer in the final analysis who will pay.

Some people talk about the frustration of the unemployed. The only difference I can see between the time when I was their age and now is that I had plenty of work and no money and they have money and no work. The Garda have not got on top of their job. They have to travel around in numbers rather than singly. We will have to get to grips with the problem. Even if it will cost more money to protect the people who should get protection, that decision will have to be made sooner or later. People will be prepared to pay if they feel they can go to bed at night and get up in the morning without somebody coming in during the night with a gun, penknife, or a sledge hammer and taking their life savings.

We will have to come to grips with the problem. One could, perhaps, compare it with the bovine TB eradication scheme: when one area has been cleared, the problem arises again elsewhere.

It may seem that I am making an attack on the youth of today. I am attacking people who are not conducting themselves. We hear talk about their frustrations and the fact that they have nothing to do and nowhere to go. They have more places to go to than I had when I was their age. In most houses today there are colour televisions and radios. Young people carry radios with them while walking along the streets. In Dublin recently I saw a young girl listening to a radio as she walked along the street. As I said they have colour televisions. I am sure they do not look at "Mastermind", but at "Starsky and Hutch" or James Bond films, which would put more villainy into their heads.

I remember the days when I used to go to political meetings where I heard complaints about roads and many other things. The first complaint you hear at a meeting now is about law and order. People are so concerned about their lives that they are appealing to the Government to do something to ensure that they will be safe in their homes.

In small towns people are closing their shops at 6 o'clock and barricading their windows. If they do not, they will be broken by the following morning. Most members of local authorities are shocked when they look at the agenda for their meetings and see the malicious damages claims. The number is getting higher all the time. We do not seem to be getting to grips with this. I am referring to people who have to protect their property. I got a telephone call 48 hours ago from one of my constituents who told me he had a burglar alarm system in his shop. Gardaí informed him that it was going off but they could not see anyone around. When he came to the premises he found that someone had broken in through the roof. This is common nowadays.

Appeals are often made to people to help the Garda in their inquiries and not too many do so, I regret to say, because they are afraid. Many more people are robbed and mugged than is generally known. When a crime is committed they are warned that if they tell anybody about it, those people will be back again. I know of a case where a person was robbed of his few shillings and he was scared because he was warned that if he informed the Garda they would be back again. People are not coming forward. They are scared. The day will come when everybody will have to come forward.

We need more gardaí. I live in a rural constituency. I remember the days gone by when the local garda on the beat was more effective than the squad car coming at 60 miles an hour. It was much better when the garda was on the beat, mixing with the people and dealing with the problems before they arose. That was a better way to protect the people.

In most rural stations at the moment the hours are 9 o'clock to 5 o'clock. I have had many complaints that there are no gardaí on duty in the barracks, that there is a note on the window to say that they are away. It is only right that they should have a 40 hour week the same as everybody else. They are entitled to that. I have the greatest admiration for gardaí, but some of them are not interested in listening to any problems one minute after the end of the 40 hours. They say they are off duty, and yet they expect other people to help them and co-operate with them.

It might be a good idea if the Garda decided to set an example. We hear many complaints about overtime. I do not mind saying this. Overtime is mentioned only as an afterthought. The point is the protection of the people. In the old days at least it was safe to walk around. When a garda was recruited and trained he was a garda until the day he retired. There is a little change there. I do not mind saying that publicly.

There is another frustration for the Garda which we will all have to think about. It has been mentioned to me many times. They spend a lot of time sorting out some villain of the piece in some area. Perhaps they cannot lift him until they have sufficient evidence to get him sent away. He may be sent away for 12 or 18 months but he is back again in two or three weeks because there is not room for him in prison. That is the most frustrating thing that can happen in any community. The Garda spend endless time trying to find these people and then there is no place for them.

I would not be concerned about the type of accommodation I would find for these people, or be worried about whether they had a colour television or a radio. These people should be put into places costing a little less than it costs in places such as Mountjoy Prison about which we hear many complaints. I was a little amused when somebody in the media compared our jails to holiday camps. He was referring to two people who when sentenced to a fortnight in jail requested the last week in July and the first week in August. They thought they were going to a holiday camp. We must get away from that. It is one of the most urgent things the Government must tackle.

I must mention recent events in Dublin city where the youth entertained many people with speed car racing. That, apparently, was enjoyed by some of the parents. There were many spectators — not as many as there would be at Le Mons or Dundrod, but perhaps the hours when the races were on were slightly different. How worrying when we read in the newspapers that the Garda could not catch the cars because they were going so fast. Did anybody believe that could happen in the city of Dublin? Perhaps it happens in many other places. Many people in towns are afraid to walk down the streets at night. They are afraid of the knives and bicycle chains.

In the past the gardaí had to accompany people travelling by train to and from football matches. If they did not, most of the seats in the train were torn to such an extent that it cost CIE thousands of pounds to repair them. How sad that is. Everything I am saying here today is a fact. They have lost all respect for people, for the clergy, the school teachers. The people were respected years ago. Because of vandalism many churches have to close early in the evenings. It is not all the fault of the Garda or the Government.

I congratulate the Minister on bringing in this Bill. He did not get any easy ride with it. Many of the do-gooders — and there are plenty of them around — are always prepared to take up the cudgels for these people. They tried as hard as they possibly could to get the Bill modified to enable these people to roam the streets and continue to terrorise the people. That is exactly what has happened up to now. The cost to the country is enormous. Perhaps many of these crimes are the fault of the parents who do not see to it that the children are in at a certain time at night. Complaints were made about small children who were looking at the speed car racing at a late hour the other night. That is a reflection on the parents.

I am concerned about the people who are scared in their homes at night, particularly the elderly. I found during the by-election to which I referred that when I called to some houses there were big chains on the doors. People were afraid to open the door. Some of the doors had holes made by penknives, picks, and so on. You would swear there was a war on. I am not exaggerating. We all have a job to do in public life. Whether we are safe or not is another day's work. That is a chance we have to take. Perhaps nobody is safe when we see attacks on priests, Senators, Presidents and even the Pope. No matter what amount of money the Government decide to spend on clearing the country of these people, it will be money well spent. I offer my sincere thanks to the Minister for having the courage to tackle this problem after years of reluctance on the part of other Ministers to do anything about it. I hope that if this Bill does not succeed, and if it is not seen to work in the years ahead, he will bring in another Bill far tougher than the present one.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There may be another Minister.

I would not think so. If I am around, I certainly will lend my support to it. Everybody in this House should support the Minister and the Government in their efforts to do something about the terrible situation in which we find ourselves at present.

Most people agree that this Bill is very complex. It is a very technical Bill which introduces a whole new set of rules, laws, powers and penalties and a major change in our hither to widely accepted, admired and frequently envied legislation.

We have been told that the Garda need new powers, new rights and new procedures in order to combat crime. It is well known that my party, Fianna Fáil, are willing and indeed anxious to support the Garda and the Government in this objective, but not to the extent that the cure might turn out to be worse than the disease. The Bill has been passed by Dáil Éireann and we in the Seanad must now consider it and express our views before the Bill in its entirety becomes law.

As one who has no legal qualification I can only view this Bill in the light of what we have heard from the Minister and those who support his views and weigh them up against the views of many people and many reputable organisations who, with obvious great sincerity, have stated that this Bill is too extreme and, by implication, the first step to the creation of a police state.

We, the legislators, have to make the decisions. How can we properly enlighten ourselves on this very technical matter if we are not fully aware of what is involved? We have been supplied with the Bill and its explanatory memorandum. We know the Minister has received many submissions and arguments from individuals, representatives of schools, universities, Churches, the Garda representative bodies and associations, the Civil Liberties Association, the Incorporated Law Society, the Association of Barristers and many others. It would have been of great assistance if the Minister could have supplied us with a summary of all those submissions together with the replies or observations on them. If it is not too late, I request the Minister to comply with my suggestion so that we can have a look at them when we come to Committee Stage. Having weighed up the arguments for and against, then we can make our own decision.

I know the Minister has stated he has in fact responded to some submissions and has come up with what he says is a balanced Bill. The Incorporated Law Society have been quoted as saying it is still an unbalanced Bill, giving powers to the police entirely at variance with those existing in England and many other European countries.

Some professor of standing claimed in the newspapers that the new powers proposed in this Bill do not exist, in other words are not permitted, in the United States, Canada, Britain, West Germany, France and other countries. I cannot remember them all now. Surely our sense of fair play, our sense of justice and of democracy are not inferior to those prevailing in all those countries. Surely such strong opposition to the major sections of this Bill must indicate to us that the Bill is too extreme and should be watered down by further amendments from the Minister so as to make it more acceptable to the people. I am quite sure that every Deputy and Senator who has responsibility for enacting this Bill has often received confidential complaints about the attitude, behaviour, aggressiveness and, indeed, sometimes the annoying approach of some over-zealous garda who, in fairness to him, in turn may well be under pressure from an over-zealous sergeant or an out of touch superintendent. All such incidents tend to create hositility towards the Garda. We know that such incidents are small numerically. Our aim should be to make them even smaller in number and it is questionable whether this Bill, with its increased powers, will weaken or strengthen community co-operation between the Garda and the ordinary decent, well-behaved citizen.

We all know the Garda cannot succeed in their fight against crime without the voluntary, enthusiastic support and co-operation of the people. To combat the hostile attitude I have referred to, I recommend to the Minister to consider improving the facilities and training in Templemore and to increase training courses and seminars for older gardaí, including the higher ranks all the way up to the very top. Other professional organisations hold regular seminars for their members. So why not make them available to all gardaí who are more involved than most in community relationships and rightly so? It may cost money but it will be productive spending which will bring rewards to the entire country.

I hope my views will be seen as well motivated and well intentioned. Most areas in my constituency are, thank goodness, relatively free of serious crime. But there are other areas in my constituency which, because of their proximity to the metropolitan area, have suffered. This in turn breeds crime in our own areas. Our only safeguard is an efficient Garda force which has the wholehearted loyalty of the people. Fianna Fáil are anxious to give the Garda more powers, but as legislators representing all the people we must give fair play to all.

I want to improve this Bill where possible, but only to the point where it is acceptable to the vast majority of our people. Looking at this Bill I find many provisions that appear rather peculiar and unsatisfactory. I would like the Minister to have a serious look at some of the points I will bring to his attention today.

Section 4, dealing with new detention powers, provides in subsection (2) that the arresting garda must have reasonable cause to suspect an offence but the garda in charge of the station must have reasonable grounds for the detention. I have three comments to make on this section. The arresting garda, like the garda in charge of the station, should also have reasonable grounds instead of reasonable cause. The onus to authorise detention is placed on the member in charge if he has reasonable grounds for believing at the time of arrival of the prisoner that detention is necessary. That is impossible. The garda in charge knows nothing of the case at the time of arrival of the prisoner. He can only make his decision to detain after getting a full report from the arresting garda and after considering that, plus any supporting facts together with the explanation given to the garda in charge by the prisoner.

This preliminary investigation by the garda in charge might not — for example, because there was a queue of prisoners — take place for 30 to 60 minutes after the arrival of the prisoner at the station. Certainly it would be ridiculous to give a garda power to make an instant decision that there were reasonable grounds for up to six hours detention. The garda might be young, inexperienced and much junior to the arresting garda. Yet the very serious decision of authorising detention must be taken by the garda in charge, no matter how young or inexperienced he is. I suggest that such an important decision should only be taken by a garda of more senior rank. Subsection (5) also mentions "reasonable cause" instead of "reasonable grounds".

Section 5 provides that the garda shall inform the prisoner of his right to consult a solicitor and a named person. I suggest the Minister should amend this so that the garda should inform the prisoner verbally and in writing, both in the interest of the prisoner and of the garda, who might be accused of not properly informing the prisoner. In fact there are several places in the Bill where similar insertions should be made to ensure that the prisoner is informed verbally and in writing.

Section 6 provides that a superintendent can authorise the taking of fingerprints and various other tasks. I suggest that these should not be carried out until after the arrival of the solicitor or named person, such as a witness, or after the expiry of one hour.

There has been much clamour for additional punishment when an offence is committed while on bail, and rightly so. Section 11 provides for this by stipulating a consecutive sentence for an offence committed while on bail, but only if the prisoner is still serving a sentence for a previous offence. If he has completed his sentence for the first offence and is released there is no additional penalty if he commits a second offence while on bail for the first offence. Consequently, if no penalty is provided to cover such a case the judge will not be entitled to add on to his normal sentence merely because he was told the offence was committed while on bail. Obviously, the judge should not be told anything about bail until he has imposed a sentence to ensure that an additional penalty is added consecutively. I suggest that committing an offence while on bail should be a separate offence similar to that of failing to surrender to bail, which is provided for in section 13, carrying a penalty whether the prisoner is still serving a sentence or has been released.

Section 15, dealing with the possession of firearms, and section 16, dealing with the possession of stolen property, give brand new powers to the Garda to require detailed information from the prisoner. The section provides severe penalties if the prisoner fails or refuses to give information or if he gives false or misleading information. However, it is rather extraordinary that there is no penalty in most cases if the prisoner gives true information. That is my reading of it. This is because subsection (4) states that any information given by the prisoner under this section shall not be admissible in evidence against himself or his wife in any proceedings except on a charge of giving false or misleading information. Thus the prisoner can tell the garda what crimes he has committed with a firearm or where he received stolen property, but the information, confession or admission shall not be admissible against him in any proceedings — for example, if he was charged with receiving stolen property. This is an extraordinary let out for receivers of firearms or stolen property, thefts which are becoming an increasing problem at present, even though the information is there to convict.

As regards setting up an agency for breaches of discipline or alleged misconduct within the Garda force, this is a very grey area at present. Does the Minister intend to remove responsibility for discipline from within the force and, if he does, will any investigation be governed by strict legal precedents? This is very important. We are bringing in a Bill which I feel, as an ordinary citizen and a public representative, can have not just an important role to play in community development and the eradication of social injustices but in the elimination of crime. We must look at the effect it can have within the force. Whatever proposals are made with regard to breaches of discipline in the force must be clear and well-defined. If the Minister intends to remove responsibility for the enforcement of discipline from the force, will this new investigative agency result in members of the force being exposed to double jeopardy in so far as they may be liable to investigation and subsequent discipline? The Garda have a very tough burden to carry at present. It is long past the time that we took steps to curb the growth in crime.

I am a member of the health board. In many areas of health new ideas are being propagated and new ways of running the services tried. We hear the medical profession and the health boards talking about preventive medicine. We should apply preventive medicine right across the board. We, as legislators, have to start to remove the social injustices that exist in our society. We must eliminate social deprivation and, above all, endeavour to curb the bad influence that films and television have had on our young people.

Every day we hear of the problems of drug abuse, of car stealing, and so on right across the country, spreading out from the metropolitan area. Everybody has a duty to play a part in trying to bring a sense of realism back to the people and I am not referring only to young people. As I have said before, the problems of today are the legacy we have inherited from outside influences which in one way or another have dominated to far too great an extent the lives and homes of many a family in this country. Let us be honest: we are all affected by those problems. I conclude by asking the Minister to consider carefully the views I have expressed here today and in so far as possible to respond to them.

As this is the Second Stage I wish solely to deal with the Bill in general terms. There are many reflections on the various sections of the Bill which may well arise more properly on Committee Stage and in particular on the various proposals in sections 4, 5 and 6 and that part of the Bill which deals with the detention of arrested persons. In a sense, on the Second Stage, I wish to deal with the principle involved in a Criminal Justice Bill like this. To a large extent the Minister has brought in this Bill in response not only to feelings among the Garda that they needed more powers to deal with criminals but more so I think to deal with feelings among the public that there was a considerable increase in crime, that law and order was breaking down and that something of a law and order nature should be done about it. My whole attitude to the Bill is: if that is what we are trying to do, is this the way to do it? Will this Bill succeed in dealing with a situation of this kind? Will it make any difference to the crime situation or improve it or make our society a better one? In many ways it will fail in this aim which I take to be the main aim of the Bill. It is important to deal with the position where one has an increasing amount of crime in society, though in a sense our response to this can be exaggerated as what we have seen in this country is probably largely a rise to the same levels of crime as those experienced in many more urbanised and industralised societies. We may not think of ourselves therefore as being necessarily very much worse than other jurisdictions in this regard but in the past few years the ordinary person considers himself increasingly threatened by violence, robbery and so on. We need only look at the way in which shops which used to be relatively unprotected at night all have to have heavy metal shutters or realise the fears of elderly people living alone in, say, local authority accommodation or the fears of women when they walk alone at night in our cities and towns to realise that the whole situation is one which is perceived by the ordinary community as being more threatening than it was before. While it is true to say that in no country is there anywhere near the level of crime of the nineteenth century, that is not much comfort to the person who is trying to cope with a situation in which he or she is afraid of being mugged in the street or of having houses burgled and so on. I can appreciate this having had my own handbag snatched on my front doorstep not so long ago. I can understand when there is a demand for some kind of law and order measure, but when we consider whether this legislation will help we have to consider very carefully because the Bill has been introduced against a background of very little consideration of what will really help with this situation.

There has not been any very great research into the causes of crime, into why we have suddenly had this outburst of crime, and we have had very little consideration of what this Bill is going to do to the relations between the Garda and the ordinary people. Senator Honan said that the relationship between the Garda and the ordinary people is not likely to be improved by this measure. It is likely to be very much disimproved particularly where young people and people in deprived areas are concerned, though I would not confine that remark to people in deprived areas. Very largely the way in which a police force like ours can deal with crime is by knowledge of people on the ground and by close connection with the community, but if we by our legislation tend to destroy this close relationship we are not really going to help in reducing crime and in making our society more lawful.

This was referred to also by Senator Robinson. She quoted from an article which I too have read. That is an article by Barry McCauley who lectures in criminal law in University College, Dublin, and which he wrote for the Incorporated Law Society. In his article he is highlighting the class difference as between the way the community relate to the police in better-off areas and in less well-off areas. His thesis is that in less well-off areas, in more deprived areas particularly in our cities and towns, we have already a considerable hostility between the public and the Garda, and he says that in practical terms this means that people living in these areas have to put up with very high levels of police surveillance and interference in their daily lives. He went on to say that young people, particularly if they are male and unemployed, are frequently asked to account for their movements while parents are asked to account for the whereabouts of their children. He says that groups of male youths are as a rule dispersed and their drinking parties broken up, that young people of both sexes are constantly stopped and searched for weapons and drugs, bundled into police cars and taken into custody only to be released later. He says that suspects are frequently intimidated, that police violence is common and that, unsurprisingly, police-community relations in most economically-deprived areas are at a very low ebb and that in some areas the police are seen, and indeed see themselves, as an occupying force.

This is put in very strong terms and I am not saying that I would necessarily agree with every word of it. Even in my own experience in a far less deprived area, in an area which might be included among those described scornfully as being in the stockbroker belt, I find that in their dealings with young people, particularly young lads of the teenage range, there is considerable hostility to the Garda. The description of the police as "pigs" is one which I find very difficult to stomach in my own household but I have heard it in my own household. Young lads who are perfectly innocent of any kind of offence will come home and say, "I was stopped three times by the guards today and asked where I was going, what I was doing, where I lived and so on". This is understandable from the point of view of the Garda but if such attitude increases, as I believe it will as a result of the passing of this legislation young people will not co-operate with the Garda. They will not regard the Garda as being there to protect them. It will not create an environment that will be helpful in so far as the prevention and curbing of crime are concerned. If boys in suburban areas of Dublin believe that they are constantly under suspicion they are not going to react by helping the Garda should they witness a crime being committed. There is a definite decrease in good relations between the Garda and particularly the young community. If we bring in a Bill like this which will allow particularly for detention in circumstances of the person not being charged, not being brought before a court as quickly as possible, it will only make the whole situation worse.

Senator Honan said at the beginning of her speech that the key word is "justice". I agree. We must ask what our ultimate aim is. If we succeed in convicting many people of various crimes, what are we to do with them? This Bill is being enacted against a background of already overcrowded, intense jails, of an inability of the public service to cope with the situation of the prisoners who are already in prison. How are we to justify as something that will cure this situation a Bill which if it succeeds will only result in more people being sent to prison? We hear complaints that as soon as people go in one door of Mountjoy they are let out another because of overcrowding.

We have totally failed to consider why we put people into prison and what are we doing as an end result of the criminal justice procedure. People see this in a threefold way. They see it as punishment or revenge for a crime that has been committed, they see it as a way of deterring others from committing that crime, and they see it as a possible way of rehabilitating the prisoner so that he will not commit similar crimes again. We have not sorted out which of these aims we are going for or what mixture of them or how we go about it. It is not popular to say that we want revenge for the crime. I would have throught that in public opinion that is what is coming across: that if people commit crime they must be put behind bars. But there is no great thought about what we do with them when they are there. Even more so there is no thought about how we pay for them when they are behind bars. The very same people who may be asking for more people to be jailed for their crimes are the last people who will want to pay the extremely high economic costs of keeping people in jail and of providing a large number of new prisons to hold them.

Can we afford the price of this sort of revenge? Can we afford the price of looking at crime as something for which we will introduce severe punishment, which will involve more jail sentences, more detection, more long sentences and so on?

Secondly, we think of imprisonment in terms of deterrence. This is a much argued question which I shall not go into today. There is an old Scottish phrase that the verdict is not proven as to how much jailing more people, convicting more people, taking more people into detention, questioning more people will deter others from committing crimes. There is at least a very strong doubt.

In regard to the hope that if we get these people who have committed the crimes, if we convict them by means of the kind of measures that are included in this Bill, we may be able to rehabilitate them and to return them to society as non-criminals, I am very conscious of the efforts made in the prison system to do this. I have formed part of a group from the Irish Council of Churches and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace who did an investigation into the prisons. The efforts that are being made are very impressive but even those who are making these efforts are not convinced that they will succeed with more than a very small proportion of prisoners who already have reasonable motivation. This is a matter which is going to be very costly. If we as a society wish to invest in this kind of ending of crime we must be prepared to put our hands in our pockets very deeply. In the present economic situation I cannot see this Government or any other being able to say they will deal with vast new numbers of prisoners in this way.

Not long before the introduction of the Criminal Justice Bill there were at least three in-depth studies of the criminal justice system, of imprisonment and of the way in which prison affects people. One was by the Catholic Bishops Social Welfare Conference, one by the Irish Council of Churches and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and a third by the National Economic and Social Council. All of these went very deeply into the situation and tried to see what forces in society were behind this increase in crime, tried to make a genuine appreciation of how bad the increase was, tried to point out that in much of industrial society there is a very high level of crime by young people but that the majority of these young people grow out of crime and do not go on to become professional full-time criminals for the rest of their lives. How much this is due to what we do with them and how much it is due to its being simply the way people's minds work is very unclear. Most of us realise that all young people tend to go through a stage of rebellion of one sort or another. In some this spills over into crime. As they grow older they settle down and this may happen with many juvenile offenders. These three studies delved into the whole question of criminal justice as it is and criminal justice as it might be. Yet I cannot believe that in bringing in this legislation the Government have gone into this background or taken much notice of these studies. Of the group that I know I am aware that a delegation from the Irish Council of Churches and the Commission for Justice and Peace met the Minister and that he was helpful. They were involved in some of the amendments that have come into the Bill, so I am not trying to paint a black picture and saying the Minister is not prepared to listen to anyone. However, I would have preferred to see more time spent in looking into studies like this, looking into what might be done and drawing from the experience of the people who are involved in the prison service and so on both in the Department of Justice and in the prisons themselves before leaping into deciding that by detaining people for a long period or by giving the Garda extra powers we will clear up our crime problem. I do not think this is true.

The Bill contains some proposals that I would support. I, too, would be worried about the business of people committing offences while on bail. There are many proposals in the Bill which are uncontroversial and which would be helpful in the matter of dealing with the criminal justice system as it is.

The part of the Bill which is worrying people most is that which deals with the detention of arrested persons in Garda Síochána custody in certain circumstances. This, I feel in particular, is a section which is open to abuse. When I say this I am not saying that we have large sections of the Garda who are abusing the laws. This is unfair and untrue, but I think that it is a temptation to any police force, if they are given this sort of power, to use it in a way which is described as rounding up all the usual suspects. The powers that are already given under the Offences Against the State Act have resulted in a position where people are arrested in large numbers and held for the statutory period under the Offences Against the State Act and in fact they are virtually all released. Something like only 10 per cent of these people are actually charged with an offence in the end, 90 per cent of them being released.

This type of situation could very readily occur with the kind of detention that is proposed in this Bill, whereby people can be taken in and questioned in possibly a very threatening manner and at the end of the questioning period no foundation for a charge is there. It has been suggested by previous speakers, in particular by Senator Robinson, that this is totally contrary to the ideas of the Supreme Court in what they see as the function of arrest. She has quoted, and indeed many other authorities have quoted, the dictum of Mr. Justice Walsh who said:

A person may only be arrested for the purpose of being charged and brought before a court as soon as is reasonably possible. A lawful arrest whether under warrant or not is simply a process to compel the attendance before a court of the person accused of an offence. Neither the arrest nor the charge confers jurisdiction and cannot amount to a complaint if it is not made before a court, a peace commissioner or a District Court clerk.

The Chief Justice said:

It has been stated many times in our courts that there is no such procedure permitted by law as holding for questioning or detaining on any pretext except pursuant to a court order, or for the purpose of charging and bringing the person detained before a court. Any other purpose is unknown to the law and constitutes a flagrant and unwarranted interference with the liberty of citizens.

Over many hundreds of years the procedure of arrest without charge and search without warrant has been fought for by people who looked for citizens' liberty under the Constitution. One of the main objects of the French Revolution in the first place was to overthrow the Bastille. The Bastille was the symbol of people held in detention without charge. I am not suggesting that by this Bill we are setting up a Bastille, but it is the beginning of the procedure when we move away from the idea of arrest for the purpose of making a charge and allowing periods of detention without charge, periods which, if the detailed provisions of the Bill are used in a certain way, will be quite a considerable length of time. The Bill contains very little or nothing as a safeguard against abuse of either existing powers under the Offences Against the State Act or of the new powers in the Bill itself.

There is a promise that we will be given, before the Bill is brought into effect or at the time the Bill is brought into effect, a police complaints procedure which will be impartial in its nature. I think it is very difficult to ask us either in the other House or in this House to discuss the Bill and the provisions of the Bill against the background which means that we do not know what we are being offered in any detail with regard to the possibility of an impartial inquiry into the behaviour of the police. Without an impartial and outside way of dealing with this there is no doubt that even where abuses may not exist there will be suspicion of abuses. The public view will be that abuses are going on behind closed doors and that there is nothing you can do about it.

I feel that the Garda have nothing to lose and a very great deal to gain by the provision of a proper outside impartial inquiry system which will show in many cases that they may be unjustly accused, and it will be protection to the Garda Síochána as well as to the public. I do not think that it is right that we should be asked to pass this Bill with its increased powers without seeing exactly what is being proposed as a protection against abuse.

The possibility of an electronic recording of what is going on in questioning is only set forward as a possibility in the Bill: there is no guarantee that this will take place. It may not be entirely effective but it would at least have some effect. The actual recording of questioning might indeed be of great use, but we have no guarantee that this will in fact happen.

I share to some extent with Senator O'Leary the feeling that we could have envisaged some kind of changes in the right to silence provided that proper protection was provided for the person who is being questioned. I think possibly we have amended the Bill in the wrong way in that we have taken out the abuse of the right to silence but we have left in this possibility of detention, and the temptation to try to get confessions in this period of detention must be very strong indeed. Abuses have arisen in the past and I have no doubt that to give this kind of power will be at least a temptation for further abuses to occur in the future.

I do not propose to deal in detail with these various sections because that is for the Committee Stage but I ask the Minister to take a very long look at these particular provisions in their danger both as being counter productive in themselves, as destroying the relationship between the community and the police, particularly between young people and the police, and in the fact that they are open to abuse and that there is no effective protection contained in the Bill against such abuse.

To conclude, I suggest that to bring in this Bill now is not going to deal with the situation as we find it. I ask that we look in a much more positive way at the whole criminal situation, at what we do with criminals, how crime arises, what we do with people convicted of crime, why particular areas have such a high crime rate and so on. All these kind of things and the alternative to gaoling people need a great deal more study and a great deal more commitment before we decide that, having brought in a Criminal Justice Bill which gives some extra powers to the Garda, we may now sit back and say, "Well, we have dealt with the law and order issue, and the complaints of all the people whose votes were canvassed during the last few elections and who said something has got to be done about law and order have been met and the whole problem has been solved." It certainly will not be solved by this Bill. In fact, it may be worsened. I feel we need a great deal more serious study of this whole area before we can deal with bringing in legislation which has any hope of success in the criminal field.

We are dealing with a Bill that is very complex in many ways. It is a Bill in which many groups have shown a great interest. In fact, the interest shown in Dáil Éireann in this Bill has been such that many people thought a Bill going in at the stage it did and emerging a different and much improved Bill was as a result of the contributions of all political parties. In fairness, my own party contributed greatly and took a tremendous interest in the Bill. Our speakers behaved in a very excellent manner indeed.

Earlier in the year we had a degree of concern about another Department of Justice Bill, the Community Service Bill, which was passed here and in the Dáil. There was much merit in that Bill. It was a good Bill that needed careful watching but, if properly implemented, could do a lot to help solve the crime rate. It would not have ended the crime problem but it would have helped. I felt there was an anxiety and concern by the Minister that it should be implemented immediately and, naturally, we supported any move in that direction. Regrettably, that Community Service Bill has not been implemented, and, as far as I know, there is very little sign of it being implemented. I hope it will be implemented in the near future. I recall the Minister saying that funds would be available and let us hope it is implemented quickly because it will help.

Many surveys are being carried out to see why the crime rate has increased so much in recent years. The previous speaker referred to the fact that little research, if any, was done into the reasons for the crime increase and, of course, she was totally correct. As a layman, I cannot give the answers to those questions but I can highlight a number of areas. Obviously, unemployment is one of them. The fact that we have so many young people out of work, needing money, means they are going to engage in bag-snatching, burglaries and robberies of all kinds. Indeed, it is a sign of the times that in the insurance industry where what was known as the householders' comprehensive insurance policy was reckoned to be the profit-making area of the industry some years ago today the burglary section alone is causing great concern. Rates have been increased and there are no profits for the insurance companies. Again, the increase in a sign of the times and, in fact, companies reckon that no matter what their rates they cannot make a profit in that area of the business. That is an indication that the crime rate has escalated out of all proportion.

Another reason for the increase in the crime rate is the drug scene. We had a very useful debate in this House on the Misuse of Drugs Bill. We know that addicts steal to get money for their habit. We know that robbing old people, bag-snatching and all the usual problems are part and parcel of their way of life. There is no doubt we are in a new area. Television has contributed greatly to the increase in crime. In my school days if we went to the films, in the westerns the hero always caught the crook and the crook was always the "baddie". Deputy Naughten of Fine Gael referred to a programme on television known as "Chips" and how useful and important that is in highlighting that crime does not pay. He was right in highlighting that programme as one suitable for young people to watch. Certainly television programmes today seem to give the impression that crimes does pay in most cases. I regret that films of that kind are being made because, obviously, they have an influence and an effect on our young people.

There is another theory I should like to throw out. This is a personal opinion and not one I have discussed with any of my party colleagues. Certainly if I had a vote tomorrow within my party I would support the return of corporal punishment in schools. I believe that the elimination of corporal punishment in our schools has added to the crime rate. It is a fact that in schools where discipline has broken down the crime rate is highest in adjoining areas. It is a well known fact that many young boys and girls are not being disciplined at home. They were not disciplined in the past but the discipline was in the schools for them. The Minister, and all of us, got our slaps at school and I do not think it did us any harm. I accept that some teachers went overboard but discipline for discipline's sake is necessary. Many teachers privately and quietly will say it was no harm to have that discipline. The absence of corporal punishment in our schools is adding to and has added to our crime rate.

In a debate on a Bill such as this we have to refer to the role of the Garda, the new powers and the new procedures that are there for them. As in every organisation — there are more than 11,500 people in the Garda Síochána — there are the good and the bad. One will always find bad apples somewhere, whether they be in the Army, the Garda, the civil service or whatever. One will always find the few who will not adhere to the highest standards of that grouping. Certainly if we are to eliminate crime here, and we cannot be pussyfooting about it, we will have to give more powers to the Garda. We will have to give them additional powers and there is no question about that. Obviously, if we can have more gardaí on the beat, extra gardaí in squad cars driving around the areas known as tough areas, that would help, but extra powers for the Garda are necessary if we are to eliminate or reduce the crime rate. We cannot eliminate crime if we do not give the extra powers or are half-hearted about it. We must do it fully and say to the Minister of the day, "Give the Garda the powers they feel they want to eliminate the crime that is present in our community".

I strongly hold the view that the ordinary law-abiding citizens of this State should not have any fears from this Bill. A defect in the Bill is that the complaints procedure and the regulations referred to in section 7 have not been introduced by now. I say that as a criticism of the Minister. The Minister told the Dáil in July that details would be ready for the autumn. July, August and September provided sufficient time to tell us exactly what his plans are in this area. I feel that the complaints procedure should have formed part and parcel of this Bill. It would be a far better Bill if that could be done. Maybe there are problems in that area but if it could be done it should have been done. The provisions in regard to illegal arms and stolen property are very important and it is very important that the Garda should get the extra powers proposed.

The previous speaker rightly referred to the prison system. It is my understanding that many districts justices and gardaí are demoralised and frustrated with the prison system. To find a criminal after being sentenced to one or two years on the road hitching a lift home as the guard is on his way back from the court, or not being kept for more than a week or two, is demoralising. The previous speaker rightly made the point that not enough thought was given to this area. What is needed is more thought and more financial commitment. Indeed, the cut-back in the allocation for prisons has been noticeable in the past 12 months.

Clondalkin prison is an example. More thought and consideration will have to be given to the subject of prisons. It sometimes happens that people who are totally law-abiding find themselves in jail on a matter of principle and I find this regrettable. Sometimes people do not pay a debt as a matter of principle and they let the case go the whole way and end up for a few weeks in jail. For example, a person who is a staunch Gaelgóir may not pay a TV licence because he or she is not satisfied with the number of programmes in Irish and ends up in jail for a week or so. There should be some other arrangement in such a case. People like that should not be cluttering up our prisons. Prisons should be for the hard-core criminals in our society and perhaps the Minister will comment on this when he is replying.

It is the case of the criminal against the law-abiding citizen. In this Bill the principle of being innocent until proven guilty is basically the rule of the day and obviously that should be the case. I feel the Minister has a duty to protect in every way possible the law-abiding citizens of this State. I do not subscribe to the kid glove method, for instance, the idea of colour television in all cells for the criminals. I take the view that the criminal who has committed crime should suffer the penalty. He should have a cell of the correct size and have a degree of comfort but I do not believe in going overboard on the side of the criminal. I believe we should go overboard totally on the side of the law-abiding citizen and that is what I hope this Bill is about.

Some of the people I would describe as do-gooders have had some success in neutralising the attempt to increase the level of protection for the law-abiding community. We have had much discussion on this Bill and this will continue. The Government have a duty to legislate to reduce the crime rate. We have a duty to see that the ordinary law-abiding citizen is protected at all times. For that reason I support the Bill.

This Bill is introduced against a background of rampant crime, house breaking, handbag snatching, violent attacks and many cases of stabbing. Armed robberies have become nearly the norm. We sometimes wonder if we do not hear of cases of armed robberies every day. There is also a new dimension in that drugs are becoming a common feature of everyday life. The ordinary crimes which were considered serious enough some time ago have now become very rare. Only recently I was speaking to a man in public life and he related to me something he had seen recently and he said he nearly derived a certain amount of pleasure out of it. He saw a row outside a public house where the contestants were engaged in fisticuffs; they had their coats off and were engaged in what would be regarded as a good old row. He said he was relieved to see this because nowadays the norm was not to use fists but to use knives or even guns.

The question has been raised as to whether there are sufficient powers in existing legislation and opinions are divided on this point. If we have not sufficient powers then it is a serious situation but I do not see anything wrong with having a surplus. One can never have too much of something that is good for the preservation of law and order. Why should we run the risk of not having sufficient powers in legislation?

The Garda have a very onerous and responsible job. In practically all cases they carry it out very well. Senator Honan this afternoon said there was a lack of comradeship or a lack of understanding between the public and the Garda at present. She brought us back in history to the foundation of the State when originally the Garda were looked on with suspicion and with doubt. As time went on they came to be regarded in a more friendly manner and became friends of the people. According to Senator Honan we have now gone back to the time when the Garda and the people did not have a happy relationship but I would suggest to the Senator that she was wrong in what she said regarding the Garda. For example, in the case of supermarkets you have not the same friendly atmosphere and the same relationship there between the customers as exists with the owner of the small shop around the corner. It happens in all walks of life; everyday life has become so competitive the people have not the time to devote to talking or friendly chat. I do not think the Garda are any exception to this. When you consider the minimum amount of training they get, about ten or 12 weeks, I think they do a marvellous job in very tough circumstances. Unfortunately at all times they do not get the co-operation they deserve to get from the general public. There are 11,500 members in the force and, with a few exceptions, they maintain a generally high standard. They carry out their duty and unfortunately on too many occasions some of them had to pay the supreme sacrifice in the execution of their duty.

Regarding the overcrowding of jails, this is not a problem that has arisen overnight but it is increasing daily because, unfortunately, the crime rate is increasing and extra places have to be found for those people in jail. Some people who are in jail for offences which are not so serious have to be released before time.

I am probably the only Senator who is a member of the Mountjoy Visiting Committee. I have been on that committee for the past ten or 12 years. I have been appointed by Ministers from both sides of the House. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of what goes on there. I was in there recently during the disturbances. We had cases of people on the blanket, and a few people on hunger strike. The number of people engaging in those tactics was very few when you consider that Mountjoy has a daily complement of something in the region of 500 at all times. Only ten or 12 people at the most are on sit-downs, or getting out on the roof or going on hunger strike and, reminiscent of Long Kesh, the dirty cell tactics. I have seen what has happened in Mountjoy and I am not relying on hearsay or rumour.

The vast majority of the prisoners in Mountjoy are reasonably well conducted. Mountjoy is not everything we would like it to be. It is a very old building and, naturally, it has many defects and shortcomings. However, at the moment it is serving a very useful purpose, and it is serving it well. The majority of the prisoners are satisfied to serve their time and get out as soon as they can. While they are in Mountjoy they are well attended to and looked after. There is a medical service available if it is wanted. They get very good meals. They are catered for in every way. For example, they have a mobile library and the use of all the facilities most normal people outside have.

I was annoyed to hear Senator Lanigan condemn the action of the governor in allowing the press to come into Mountjoy and see for themselves. He said it was one of the greatest con jobs perpetrated on the public. I cannot see that this in any way could be regarded or construed as a con job on the public. People should be shown the facts clearly. Various accounts of the disturbances in Mountjoy were published in the papers and, in many cases, the reports were one-sided and distorted. Allowing the press to come in and see for themselves and report to the public exactly what is happening is very good and healthy and should be encouraged at all times.

Recently there was talk about the relationship between the staff and the Governor of Mountjoy. I can say as a member of the visiting committee that, at the moment, the relationship is excellent. Everything seems to be going as well as possible in the prison. Those men are working in rather serious conditions. It is not easy for them at all times to be in the best of humour. They are dealing with various types of people. People in prison are not at all times in the very best form.

I regret the recent pronouncements by people who should have known better that some people inside Mountjoy were trying to stir up trouble. I do not think any warder — even for his own sake, even with the selfish motive of making his own position more tolerable — would like to see an atmosphere of trouble and disturbance. I am glad to say that the relationship is very happy, and everything seems to be going very well.

The only other prison that I know is the Arbour Hill Prison. I have been there on one or two occasions on visits. Members of the Visiting Committee of Mountjoy have gone there. It is an entirely different premises. Arbour Hill would be regarded as the Gresham or the Shelbourne of prisons compared with Mountjoy. It is reserved for long-term prisoners. Practically all of them are there for a term of three years or over. They enjoy all the facilities and are given every opportunity to learn a trade which may be of help to them later. They get the full co-operation of the welfare officers and are fitted out to enable them to resume their place in society when they leave there.

Much has been said about facilities for prisoners and visitors. In the circumstances, and given the conditions prevailing at the moment, the staff in Mountjoy and Arbour Hill are doing an excellent job. As many visitors as possible are accommodated. It is the wish of the prison staff to be as lenient as they can. While they have to ensure that law and order is maintained and that everything is kept completely under control they try to do that as harmoniously as they can. They encourage the prisoners to fit themselves out for later on. Some people say that it is done to too great an extent. Anybody could find himself in prison. He would endure it and be determined to go straight afterwards. But there are habitual criminals who are in there time and time again. These people make the loudest noise and talk about the conditions in which they have to serve their sentence. If they made an effort to profit by their mistakes and go straight they would not find themselves in there again.

I do not intend to discuss the Bill in very much detail because I am not qualified to do that. I just want to put the record straight. I hope people will realise that prisons are not convalescent homes. Under the circumstances everything is being done in as humane a way as possible. It is the wish of the authorities in those prisons to try to ensure that the prisoners become better citizens when they are released.

I congratulate the Minister for bringing in the Bill. While a Bill of this nature is necessary there are a number of things which, if carried out, would save people a lot of pain and expense. We should opt for crime prevention. My first suggestion is that if we are to be successful in solving crime the first job for the Minister is to ensure that gardaí are put back on the beat. Until such time as there are sufficient gardaí back on the beat, crime will continue. Senator Lennon mentioned that the Garda stations are working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They have a 40-hour week. The criminal has from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m. the following morning to do what he wants.

It is a sad state of affairs in this day and age that people are no longer safe walking the streets, even in daylight. Innocent people going about their business, and particularly elderly women, have their handbags snatched. People try to resist but they have no chance against such young thugs and only get injured. That is happening every day of the week. It has happened to some Members of this House. It happened one Member's mother on two occasions. It is a sad reflection on us if that situation is allowed to continue.

Senator Honan referred to the lack of co-operation between the public and the Garda, but public co-operation is not always availed of. I know of a case recently which happened at 1 p.m. in Lower Mount Street, which is about five or six minutes walk from the Garda station in Pearse Street. Criminals broke into a ground floor flat. One of the criminals went to post office workers who were working nearby and told them what would happen to them if they did anything about it. Somebody else who saw what happened, telephoned the Garda station in Pearse Street. Half an hour afterwards a Garda car arrived. Two of the criminals went into the flat and two remained outside. They handed out a television, radio and other property which was taken to a van and driven away. When the Garda arrived the explanation for the delay was that the Garda car was out on another case. I understand that. With the number of robberies taking place and at the rate they are being carried out, a fleet of Garda cars would be required. It would have taken only five or six minutes for gardaí in Pearse Street to walk to the flat and they would have caught those people red-handed. That was a case of people making an effort to co-operate and help to solve crime but that is what happened. I emphasise that the only hope we have of solving crime is to start at the beginning and put the police back on the beat.

I drive to Killarney, which is approximately 200 miles from Dublin, at least once a week. Travelling through small and big towns I have never seen a garda in the streets. I see patrol cars at times parked on side roads trying to catch people who may be going over the speed limit. I do not condone people exceeding speed limits but those gardaí would be far better employed looking after people's property, preventing crime, injury and muggings.

Eighty-four cars are stolen in Dublin city every night. Those cars are stolen by joy-riders. Another Senator spoke about these people coming from deprived areas, but they do not specialise in taking just any old banger. They go for a Mercedes, BMW or any high-powered car they can get. If they escape without crashing the car they then burn it. Up to now people could claim under the malicious injuries scheme, but that has ceased. People who are fortunate enough to be insured against such losses will be covered by their insurance company. If insurance companies pay out millions of pounds it will result in increasing premiums and law-abiding citizens will be forced to drive without any insurance because they will not be able to afford to pay the premium. That is all very fine until a family is deprived of its breadwinner just because these young thugs steal a car and get away with it.

We have motor racing in the Phoenix Park and Mondello but the speeds and records that have been attained there have not touched on those we had in Cabra recently. Cabra was a law-abiding area but for some unknown reason these young thugs stole a few high-powered cars, stopped outside the Garda station, blew the horn and kept on baiting the gardaí. The gardaí had to follow them in a patrol car. Then the race started. A large crowd on the footpath cheered on the joy-riders. If one saw that on the television or in the cinema at least it would be fiction but here was a case of fact being stranger than fiction. It was unbelievable to see that happening in this city and the amount of damage caused. What can we do about it? There is only one thing we can do and that is to put gardaí back on the beat. They are in constant touch with the people. When these young thugs see gardaí walking up and down they will not engage in crime.

As I have said, these people are very sophisticated. Two weeks ago I parked my car outside my flat and after a half an hour I went out to find the fly-window broken and the radio-casette removed. It was an expert job. The damage amounted to £300. Not satisfied with that, the vandals pulled the wiring out and that cost an extra few hundred pounds to repair. Last week my niece and her family from London visited Dublin. She left her car in the private car park at the apartment where she was staying but it was stolen and found abandoned the following morning. It was a Rover 3½ litre, a very high-powered car. The engine had stalled and that prevented the thieves from continuing to drive the car. People are being killed by these joy-riders. We must put gardaí back on the beat to prevent this kind of thing happening.

Senator Honan said that the previous Minister intended to provide helicopters which would cover a lot of ground and thus prevent crime. Helicopters would complement the Garda force but if a crime is committed in say, Dunshaughlin, and reported to the helicopter unit in Dublin, by the time the helicopter reaches Dunshaughlin the perpetrators of the crime could be on the other side of the Border. If there were three helicopters, one each based in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, what use would they be to outlying towns such as Tralee or Killarney? One-and-a-half hours at least would elapse before they would arrive at one of those towns. We would want a fleet of helicopters for them to be effective. We have a very cheap form of coverage as against that type of cost in terms of gardaí on the beat. The Minister will say that he has not got the wherewithal, that there is a ban on recruiting staff, but there is a colossal amount of money paid to gardaí in the form of overtime. I know there are cases where there has to be overtime but a lot of it is unnecessary. There are more than 200,000 unemployed and while they may not all be eligible to join the Garda, a significant number of them would be eligible to join. The elimination of overtime that is unnecessary would make money available to pay for extra gardaí. In that way we would be helping to solve the crime problem.

Senator Honan said that women are reluctant usually to reveal their age. She said she was not concerned about revealing her age. Not being any chicken myself, I am not worried either about giving my age. When I hear anyone discussing a woman's age, I think of a secondhand car: you are aware that the clock has been put back but you never know by how much.

I hope the Senator is not saying that Senator Honan put the clock back.

I am not saying that.

Is that still done?

If Senator Daly was not speaking of Senator Honan, he must have been speaking of Senator McGuinness.

Senator Daly to continue, please.

My friends here are trying to get me into trouble but I know it is all meant for the best. There was mention of a problem in the Garda arising from the practice whereby on promotion to the rank of sergeant a member may be transferred to an area up to 50 to 100 miles away. This can cause much hardship and can result in some gardaí not accepting promotion. It is the case also that some gardaí are reluctant to seek promotion because of the small difference in the salary of a garda and that of a sergeant. This does not make it worth their while to move.

I should like now to deal with the subject of Garda escorts. We had the tragic case recently of a young garda losing his life while escorting money to a post office. This is another area in which prevention would be better than cure. For reasons unknown to the ordinary man in the street the Post Office deliver the money to the furthest point first. This means that the bulk of the money in this particular instance was for post offices in Dublin. If the money had been delivered in Dublin first there would have been less money to carry to the other post offices.

There is something wrong in this system of taking all this money to post offices for the payment of pensions. A very simple remedy in this case would be if the pension books took the form of money orders which could be cashed in any store, shop or post office; in other words, negotiable currency which would be valid only for the persons using them because the store would, naturally enough, not cash them without knowing the person. This system would eliminate the carrying of cash.

The whole system of dealing with pensions should be examined carefully with a view to devising a system of payment that would eliminate the need for Garda escorts. I urge the Minister to have the postal authorities examine this question.

Sitting suspended at 5.30 p.m. and resumed at 6.30 p.m.

Speaking before the break, on the prevention of crime, which is better than curing crime, I was giving examples of where money could be saved, but I had not dealt with the money being spent on Border duties. To my mind, that is a waste of money. There is no protection on either side of the Border. A few years ago I had occasion to go to Whitehall to collect a new car. I was about to put the trade plates on the car when I was called to take a phone call. I asked the transporter driver if he would put on the plates. Having taken the call, I sat in the car and drove to Newry. I parked the car opposite the cathedral in Newry, which is beside a bank. I had been doing business with the bank because there was a bank strike here at the time. I spent about two hours in that bank and when I came out I found a ticket on the windscreen. I was asked, which I thought was a very nice thing, by the police authority to go to the police station and give an explanation of why I parked the car in that place. You are not asked to give an explanation here; you are given a ticket, you pay a fine and that is the end of the story.

If the Senator left his car there now it would be blown up.

It might be a good way to sell it. I sat in the car and drove back to Dublin. I went into a hotel on the north side of Dublin and had my tea. I put my hand in my pocket and I took out this ticket. It was then I discovered that I was asked to go to the police station. I thought it strange that there was no registration number on the ticket. When I went to the car I found to my amazement that there was no number plate whatever on the car. A brand new car, no numbers, no trade plates, nothing. What happened was that the transporter driver also had been called away and I had not got the plates on the car. Yet I was able to go through the southern customs, the northern customs, the southern police force and the northern police force, without being stopped by anybody. This makes me wonder why all this money is spent on security. Perhaps if some of it was spent protecting the people from mugging, robbery, burglary, vandalism and all the different crimes, it would be far better.

In my opinion this legislation, the Criminal Justice Bill, 1983, will leave many scars and many uneasy people in the streets of Ireland. It is legislation which will take away a number of what have been regarded in this country for years as basic civil liberties. It will allow for detention, finger printing and a number of other things which many of us would have grave doubts about being freely available to the Garda. Before I deal fully with the Bill there are a few things I should say. Having listened to Senator Daly I agree with a lot of what he said. When I look back on what has been done by the Department of Justice in the past couple of years I become very uneasy. We have seen the closing of rural Garda stations. In many cases there is an officer on duty for about 40 hours a week. We have also seen cases where the famous green box is left on the door, that is the only hope anybody in trouble has of getting assistance, often for long periods. I see it in my own area. About 12 to 15 months ago the Department of Justice decided that the number of gardaí in Ballinamore should be drastically reduced. In doing so they left the town without the necessary protection and without the necessary surveillance which was needed in a town of its size. They also decided that the town could do without the local squad car, and it too was withdrawn from the town. We all know what happened after that in Ballinamore, and there is no need for me to go through the events of December 1983 as far as that part of the country is concerned. I am glad that people up and down the country have realised since then that it was not local people who were directly involved in those events. I lay a lot of the blame for those events on the lack of Garda surveillance in the Ballinamore area.

I, like other public representatives in the area, made representations to the Minister for Justice and he assured us in his reply that there was a sufficient Garda presence in the area to handle any situation that might arise. But even since then, the Minister, his Department and the Garda authorities have not found it necessary to redeploy the men who were taken from that area, the gardaí who were transferred elsewhere, back into the area. Ballinamore still has not got a squad car as protection. Indeed, the squad car may not in itself be of much protection, but at least it is a surveillance vehicle which is available to the force in the area to carry out routine work and to allow them the facility which is necessary if they are to patrol wild and lonely roads. This is something that the Minister should have another look at. He should see that there is a Garda presence 24 hours a day in that area. Further, I feel that the withdrawal of gardaí from stations up and down the country for long periods and at weekends is detrimental to society and to the maintenance of law and order.

We know, and it has always been a well known fact, that prevention is better than cure. The best way to prevent crime is by a Garda presence, and by the gardaí being allowed to remain long enough in an area to get to know what is going on and to gain the confidence of the public. In the past few years, people have lost a certain amount of confidence and respect for the Garda. It is sad that this should happen. If we have to introduce more and more armed gardaí to keep law and order we will reach a stage when fire will be met with fire, and the bullet will be met with a bullet. The net result will be greater loss of life as far as the Garda are concerned.

At the moment there are three or four types of crime prevalent in this country. First, there is house breaking, which is a profession in large urban areas. House-breaking has become a way of life and it is evident from the difficulties people are experiencing in getting burglary insurance, especially in this city, that Garda detection is not at the level it should be if they are to stem this type of crime. Second, there are the people who are receiving stolen goods. These people, if known, should be kept under close surveillance and dealt with under the full rigour of the law when they are taken into court.

Regarding drugs, anybody who deals in drugs deals in murder. If somebody is on drugs that person is capable of doing anything at the time. The sentences being handed out to the drug peddlers are not severe enough. I hope that in future when these people come before the courts the necessary action will be taken by the judges to deal with them. It annoys me to see inconsistency in the punishment being handed out by various judges in drug cases. I have known what in my opinion were blatant cases of drug pushing and, due to having good lawyers who were capable of putting up a reasonably good case, the people were allowed to go on possession rather than on peddling charges. This is serious. If somebody is known to be a drug peddler, then a situation should not be allowed to arise in court where that person is let off as mainly being in possession. I hope that the judges and the State prosecutors will see to it that when they take cases for drug pushing they are not allowed to be mitigated to possession.

Senator Daly mentioned Mondello — Dublin city — where high-powered cars are stolen continually. That does not surprise me because the people who steal those cars know that if they appear in the District Court on the following day it will be either a suspended sentence or commital and the jails are so full that on the following day those people are out on the streets again. People have been killed in this city as a result of people being allowed out of overcrowded jails. While this legislation is intended to strengthen the hands of the Garda as far as prosecution is concerned, the first thing we must do before we can implement what is in this Bill is to see to it that proper places of detention are provided with sufficient accommodation within them. It is ridiculous that people who are sentenced are back on the streets within a couple of weeks because there is no place to accommodate them. The number of people who are being released after serving only very short sentences or short portions of the sentences handed out to them has reached epidemic proportions.

I have mentioned the inconsistencies in the judgments and in the punishments handed out for the same crimes in the courts. I hope that the judges will come together on a regular basis and discuss the sort of problems they are having in their courts and come to a decision on what should be the fines or the imprisonment for the various crimes. Maybe many of these crimes are a result of the sort of society we are allowing ourselves to drift into in which the law is no longer respected as it was a number of years ago. There is a lack of communication between the Garda and the general public. The absence of local gardaí patrolling the towns or country areas is very noticeable particularly with the increase in crime. Our schools could well do something in the education of our young people in their civic responsibilities to their fellow-citizens and the upholding of the law. However, I hate to say that some of the tactics being employed by the Garda in certain cases are leading to a breakdown of co-operation from the general public. I had reason to make representations to the Minister for Justice regarding an incident which happened in this city about 12 months ago when a young person was taken into custody off the street, cross-questioned on a number of issues and about places where he had been and more or less indicted and told that he was there for no good purpose. If that is the position now under the law, what will it be if that person were to be taken in and questioned under the extra powers given to the Garda in this Bill? I can understand that the Garda may want extra powers, but how will they handle those extra powers? Who will be in a position to see to it that they act within the limits of what is prescribed in this Bill? Anyone can interpret any law in two different ways, and the legal profession will agree that two lawyers may interpret the one Act in two different ways. I fear that some gardaí may interpret the powers given to them in this Bill differently from the way others would do.

I do not want to sound critical of the Garda. They are doing as good a job as they are being allowed to do, but two or three things should be dealt with regarding them. The length of time given to training a Garda recruit is insufficient to allow him to go out and carry out his dual role of citizen protection and, let me say, gaining the respect of the citizen. To give some young fellow or girl six months below in Templemore is to give him or her insufficient time. They should be given a six-months course in Templemore, then allowed out on the beat for two or three months to see the everyday workings of the gardaí on the beat and then taken back in and given a further six months training in order to put them in a position to fulfil the role they are expected to fulfil in the maintenance of law and order. Senior gardaí should be taken back in on a regular basis for refresher courses of a month or two months every four or five years to update them on the law and on what is expected of them from society. Also our gardaí are not sufficiently trained to face expert lawyers in court. After all, in many cases they have not the experience and many times known criminals escape on technicalities because the garda who may be the State's witness is not sufficiently strong to stand up to some of our better lawyers. That is sad. Such training should be given to gardaí both young and old. Also the number of ban-ghardaí is not as big as it should be and I hope that the Minister will increase their number. Often banghardaí can be more effective than can male gardaí and I hope that the proportion of ban-ghardaí can be increased in the future.

Another major problem of today is robbery with violence. The number of gardaí gunned down over the years makes deplorable reading. We are partly to blame, and the Department of Justice are partly to blame, because of the equipment gardaí in vulnerable positions are given. To have a garda in an ordinary car, even though armed, escorting large sums of money without the facility of a bullet-proof vehicle is looking for trouble. That is what happened to the late Garda Hand in Meath. That, to put it mildly, was only a sign of what may be to come. The people intent on carrying out that robbery fired first and gave the two gardaí concerned no chance. Indeed it was fortunate that only one garda was fatally injured.

The Garda must be provided with sufficient protection. The minimum such gardaí should be provided with is a bullet-proof car. The money they protect is carried for institutions, whether the Post Office or other organisations. Such bodies should be able to make available to the State finance with which to provide that type of service by the Garda. We see that the banks throughout the country provide an Army escort, if we are to believe the newspapers. The same charges should be levied on the Post Office. Somebody today suggested here that social welfare benefits should be paid in future by orders or drafts which could be cashed anywhere. I do not think that would be the best system. The present system of paying out old age pensions and children's allowances through the small post offices should be continued. That service is the lifeline of those small post offices. They are providing a facility for people in remote areas of which such people would be deprived if the post offices did not provide this service. For a social reason, among others, these payments should continue to be made through the small post offices.

I am not talking about the provision of large numbers of bullet-proof vehicles, but which is the cheaper, dead gardaí or bullet-proof cars? Human life cannot be bought at any price anywhere in the world. This is something the Minister and the Department should address themselves to.

We could make other criticisms of the Bill, some justified and some not; but the breakdown of trust between the Department of Justice and the general public is something we must address ourselves to even though it is not directly relevant to the Criminal Justice Bill. I will refer to something that happened about six weeks ago when the Government Press Office issued a misinformed statement with regard to prisoners on hunger strike in Mountjoy. Senator Lanigan last week referred to the con job in the media who showed the public the games rooms available in Mountjoy. It might not be a bad idea if Oireachtas Members were taken on a conducted tour of Mountjoy and the other prisons and shown the facilities available. We could then see for ourselves whether they are good or bad. I hope that in the future the Government will never again issue a statement which will be misleading to the public. If a different party had been in power, the media would have torn them to shreds for misinforming the public.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I have to ask you to get back to the Bill.

That point should be made and I hope this will not happen again, irrespective of whom the Government may be. The Bill provides for access to solicitors and notification of detention. I know a case of somebody being detained without the family being informed for 24 hours — I raised it on the Adjournment here. The family were not told where the person had gone. I had to raise other matters in regard to the searching of private houses. This Bill will give further powers of search and detention. I am beginning to wonder how this will work when it is put into operation.

I hope that before the Bill is brought into law — it appears the Government are committed to enacting it without further amendment — people will sit back and look at what it will do to their rights as we have known them. For instance, gardaí will be entitled to get fingerprints, palm prints and other items, in my opinion justifiably provided that copies will not be made of some of those items before the originals have been destroyed. It is one of my fears that unscrupulous members of the Garda might be inclined to hold copies of people's fingerprints, palm prints and so on. It is open to them to do that if they wish under the provisions of this Bill.

It is a pity that the Minister of State at the Department of Fisheries and Forestry should be deputising for the Minister for Justice or the Minister of State at that Department. I hope the Minister present will convey to the Minister for Justice the fears expressed by Members in this debate. However, we must look at the Bill from John Citizen's point of view.

Will it protect him or will it leave him in a more vulnerable position? Will he be able to sleep in his house without having to worry about it being burgled? Will the Bill mean that the old lady can walk down the street with a more secure feeling, with less danger of being mugged and her handbag stolen? I do not think it will because basically it means only that somebody taken to court on such charges will be back in the street in a few weeks.

That is a major problem. I hope that before the Bill becomes law the Minister for Justice will provide the necessary finance to provide proper places of detention. It must be very frustrating for the Garda to take somebody to court, prosecute him and get a conviction only to find the person is laughing at them from the other side of the street in a matter of weeks when he should have been detained for months.

There is also a lack of corrective therapy for such people while in prison. Young offenders charged with joyriding, car theft and so on, should be treated rather for their social problems than as criminals. I hope that the Department and the Minister will see to it that such young people would not be back in the streets in a few weeks after sentence. It is a major bone of contention not alone with the public but with the Garda, that people convicted in the courts are back in the streets. I have been told of cases of prisoners sent to Mountjoy who were back home the following day due to the fact that there was nowhere to detain them. In fact they must have just had time in Mountjoy to take their photographs, put them in the record book and issue them with numbers before they were released. That is wrong. If we are to deal with the social evils being caused by vandalism, drug pushing and armed robbery we will have to do something about the provision of proper places of detention.

Senator Daly mentioned that some of the money being spent on Border security should be spent on the provision of detention facilities. As far as spending money to provide security forces to maintain a Border in Ireland is concerned, if that money was spent on combating crime in the rest of Ireland it would be more beneficial. Gardaí at check points on the Border are only doing the work of Britain. They are causing annoyance in places and are not a deterrent as far as terrorism is concerned. We have seen that unarmed gardaí are not a deterrent to Border crime. I am not advocating that there should be armed gardaí on the Border because it should be remembered that the more armed gardaí we have, the more gardaí will be murdered.

There are 32 sections in this Bill and many Members will want to contribute on Committee Stage because of the obvious defects in the Bill. I have no doubt that these will be brought to the Minister's notice. Before the Minister goes any further with this Bill he should look to see what it is going to do to protect the ordinary citizens of Ireland. Will it mean that they can sleep anything easier at home or will the situation continue where, due to lack of numbers, people will not be given adequate protection in Ireland?

There is a need for a major recruitment drive for the Garda Síochána so that the numbers on the beat can be greatly increased. That would be more of a deterrent than anything else. With regard to drugs and car stealing in Dublin and other major urban areas I believe car manufacturers have a role to play. They spend enormous amounts of money on high powered cars and improving vehicles but if they improved the security of cars with regard to locking systems and other facilities no one would begrudge paying a few pounds extra. People could then park their cars in safety without fear of them being vandalised before they return. Senator Daly mentioned his experience of vandalism to his car. Such occurrences are common practice. Known targets are BMWs, Granadas and Mercedes and we should ask manufacturers of those vehicles to see what can be done to have them further protected from vandalism and theft.

I hope the Minister will delete some sections from this Bill. For example, people should not be fingerprinted until they are charged. If a Garda is so sure that someone has committed a crime that he wants to fingerprint him or her he should be in a position to prefer charges first. It is totally wrong that somebody's fingerprints and photograph should be taken and put on record before he is charged. That basic civil liberty is being taken away. I will have something more to say about that aspect on Committee Stage.

Section 6 (b) deals with the searching of people. Subsection (3) is amusing in that it states people may be searched down to their underclothing. I hope some other system will be found. There are sniffers available for finding drugs on people in other countries and they should be used rather than subjecting innocent people to body searches for nothing.

Section 8 (2) states:

Where proceedings for an offence to which section 4 applies are not instituted against the person within the period of six months from the date of the taking of the photograph or print and the failure to institute such proceedings within that period is not due to the fact that he has absconded or cannot be found, the destruction shall be carried out on the expiration of that period.

Who wants to have their fingerprints and photographs floating around Ireland for six months and not be charged? It is very sad that this should be introduced in any law in Ireland. It will create a situation where unscrupulous people may be in a position to take copies of these for use against the people at a later date without any reason.

There is also the question of detention and questioning. There are two sides to this. There is the Garda side where a garda can be accused in the wrong, as has been the case in the past. I hope that tape recording of all questioning will be made available to the person being questioned and to that person's solicitor and that those tapes will be of the exact duration of the time they are being questioned for. When questioning commences of persons being questioned they should be provided with a watch or clock so that they can time the length of the questioning and see if it tallies with the time given in evidence. I will have more to say about that on Committee Stage. Before the Minister introduces this type of legislation I hope he will provide the necessary back-up service by means of places of detention to deal with the people who are now the suppliers of death — that is what drug-pushers are — and those involved in armed robberies. No mercy should be shown to them by the courts. People guilty of mugging offences should be given minimum sentences of five years. To mug somebody going down the street brings us back to the law of the jungle and back to a situation where nobody is safe to walk the streets of this or any other city in this country. Indeed, we see at the moment where gardaí always have to be accompanied late at night in this city and it is a reflection on the society we live in that this is the position. I hope that the Minister will give full consideration to some of the sections in this Bill which in my opinion will take away the basic civil liberties of many people.

Bhí a lán ráite sa Dáil faoin mBille seo agus ar an mBille seo agus is féidir a lán a rá fós, is dócha. De réir mar a fheicim sa Seanad anseo, ón méid a lé ins an leabhar seo agus ón méid a chuala mé inniu ó tháinig mé, tá daoine anseo freisin atá ag dul ar aghaidh le óráidí fada. Ar an ábhar sin, ní féidir liom aon rud nua a rá, is dócha, mar tá sé ráite cheana. For that reason my speech will not be long. I want to make a few points having listened to speeches and having read some of them.

At the moment we are facing a discipline problem which starts in the home. It is coming into primary school now that corporal punishment has been abolished and it is going into the older age group where vandalism takes over. It is very easy to put the blame on somebody else. I heard many speakers here call for the presence of gardaí on the beat and the suggestion more or less is that if you have hundreds of them walking the streets you will have no crime. As a nation we boast that almost 100 per cent of our people have religious beliefs. We should behave ourselves and get back to the situation where the occasional garda walking along will just have to say "good morning" and "good evening". As far as I can see, we want the Garda to enforce discipline on ourselves. I think as legislators and as people in public life we should be asking the people as a nation to get back to the standards we had and that we should have now. We may brag about the amount of religion we have in the country but I think we have given a poor example of it.

It is very difficult for the Garda to deal with crime. The Bill has been criticised and yet you have people talking about muggers and bank robbers and those who beat up old people and saying they should be brought to justice. We are asking the Garda to deal with this with their hands almost tied behind their backs. I know that my colleague beside me who is well up in law will probably disagree with me but I am sure that the Bill presents problems for lawyers. In the long run the vast majority of the people of this country want to see the Garda with enough power to prevent some of the shocking crimes that are committed. We are going out of our way to make sure that criminals have every defence possible. We will leave the Garda in such a way that they will get so frustrated eventually that they will not bother their heads. It has been mentioned that they are disillusioned enough at the moment when, having done a lot of work to prove people guilty, they find them walking the streets shortly afterwards having been released from jail. It does not matter how far we send either helicopters or squad cars or people on motor bikes if in general the people do not want to live according to the law and according to their Christian standards. It is impossible for the Garda to impose this discipline on us. I repeat, we will have to do something about it ourselves.

Some of the reverend gentlemen who are making a lot of noise about this Bill might give a few sermons on normal behaviour and it might be of more benefit to the ordinary person. I think the ordinary person in the country who reads the papers and all about the Criminal Justice Bill and all the protests is convinced that we are trying to defend the criminal. It would be a pity if that belief were widespread. It is up to some of us at least to say that the criminals — and I am not talking about the poor unfortunate who makes some silly mistake and finishes up in jail, I am talking about the thugs of the worst type who are prepared to shoot their way, the muggers and these people who deliberately commit crime and are prepared to go to any length to commit crime — should be given no defence in this country. I would like to see the Garda having all the power they need.

As far as fingerprints are concerned, I know it is a very sore point with people because I suppose they are our own exclusive property. From my point of view, if my fingerprints were in the possession of the Garda my only worry would be that they would find them at the scene of a crime. It would be up to me to make sure they were not found where they should not be. We can get into all kinds of knots worrying about the abuse of our privileges and so on but when the trouble starts we ask the Garda to go out there; they are never asked to go where things are quiet. They are always called in when there is a problem and they are expected to fulfil to the letter of the law the rules and regulations and before they know where they are they are probably hit with something. I think we can be very unfair. Some of the discussion I have heard today has not given me the impression that we are giving the support to the Garda that we should give. I would like my contribution simply to conclude with that.

Is there a need for this Bill? That I believe is the first question I must consider in making my contribution in this House. My answer is in the affirmative but I would have to add a qualification that I am apprehensive and concerned about the Bill in some respects. My party agree in principle with the Bill but feel that the four-year trial period should be reduced to three. I share that view and urge the Minister to consider it.

Very many people and groups are in agreement with the Bill but there are also many who are not. Some seem opposed to the Bill in toto while others, like myself, are apprehensive about parts of it. We are dealing in a fight against crime; on one side are the criminals with many advantages over the Garda on the other side. It would be irresponsible not to acknowledge this serious situation and to seek to give the Garda at least a fair deal in this battle with ruthless criminals.

I would like to give some reasons for my misgivings about the Bill. First, and I am sure this must hold true for other Members, representations have been made to me in this respect. I will quote from a letter received from a very concerned and responsible person, a teacher. It said:

Dear Senator,

As a voter in your constituency I would like to inform you of my opposition to the terms and spirit of the Criminal Justice Bill currently before the House. I am concerned about the serious rise in the crime rate. However, I do not believe that this Bill will reduce crime in our society and would urge you to vote against it.

The Bill involves serious erosion of civil liberties and does nothing to address the causes of crime. It will further alienate those deprived young people who might get involved in crime. In a country where there is so much talk about the problems of youth such a Bill will only serve to aggravate these problems. As you are aware, only the recommendations of the gardaí have been incorporated into the original Bill. Surely this is a very short-sighted way to deal with a problem that affects us all. I recognise the difficulties of the gardaí in trying to cope with the rising incidence of crime, but what is needed to cope effectively with the problem is not repressive legislation which would only increase the prison population and cause hardship and suffering to innocent suspects, but a proper investigation into the causes of crime followed by appropriate reforms.

There is food for serious reflection in the views expressed in that letter and they are views which many of us would share. The Minister has stated that the Bill was preceded by thorough research but like other Members I would have to ask why then had we not a White Paper?

I have also had the views of a barrister who is a constituent of mine and believes that there is no need for this legislation. He feels there is adequate law already on the Statute Book to fight and beat even the hardened criminals of our land and that if half the thought and effort were given to sophisticated methods of crime prevention as went into preparing and discussing the Bill, far better results in the fight against crime would issue.

There is one other point. Society must be protected against itself. This does not mean that inferences should be treated as fact, although it happens sometimes in law that an inference may be treated as a fact when no other explanation is possible. I also had representations from a retired manual worker who recalled events of nearly 50 years ago to make the case that too much power given to the Garda could have negative consequences. This may seem somewhat irrelevant but the man felt very deeply about the issue.

I could quote the views of many others opposed to this Bill but there is no need to do so as they are well known. I should like to refer very briefly to contributions made last week in this House by two Members on the Government side, Senator Michael Higgins and Senator O'Leary. They are both vehemently opposed to the Bill. Not alone that, but Senator O'Leary felt so strongly about the matter that he thought it proper to vacate his place on the Front Bench for the duration of his speech. I respect the views of Senator Higgins. He is a professional sociologist, lecturing for 17 years in the area of deviant crime and punishment. When he says that he has seen no evidence from any jurisdiction that he knows to suggest that legislation like this reduces the crime rate, I must say I feel perturbed. I hope the amendments he referred to will be incorporated in the Bill before it leaves this House if they will alter that situation.

The Minister stated in his opening speech, "I am, of course, here to listen to the views of the House and to take them into account." Senator Higgins referred to the accepted notion that we are in the middle of a crime crisis or that we are experiencing a crime wave. He asked: "Are we dealing with a crisis of crime, or are we dealing with a crisis of control?" Far be it from me to attempt to answer those questions. I am not sure how you can quantify crime, or at what precise stage the problem becomes a crisis. Perhaps the media have helped to cause panic. The reports in our daily papers make sickening reading. Some of them refuse to leave my mind: An old lady over 80 years of age sexually assaulted and thrown into the boot of a car; gardaí stripped naked and thrown into the boot of a car. I could go on with these, but I concede that this would prove no point about the crime rate and would serve no useful purpose.

As regards the crime problem I should like to quote from page 3 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Crime, Lawlessness and Vandalism:

The extent of the increase in crime in recent years has become a major source of concern for all members of our community. The scope of the problem is evidenced by the number of individual crimes reported to the gardaí. These numbers have increased from just under 40,000 in 1973 to approximately 97,000 in 1982 (the last year for which figures are available). In the same period the detection rate fell from 49% to 34%.

While there has been an unquestionable increase in crime in rural areas, the problem is of particular concern in urban areas and especially in the Dublin Metropolitan Area because of the concentration of population. For example, the D.M.A. accounts for about two-thirds of recorded crime even though it has only one-third of the total population; only one-third of the establishment of the Garda Síochána are stationed in this area.

According to the annual reports of the Garda Commissioner, which he presents to the Minister for Justice, a large proportion of crime is committed by persons under 21 years of age. The number of persons convicted in 1982, who were under 21 years of age, represented almost 50% of the total; the number under 17 years of age accounted for about 17% of the total number convicted — this shows a decrease in comparison with previous years where the proportion varied between 22% and 25%.

I can only refer to Senator O'Leary's speech as extraordinary. He is an experienced barrister and his views cannot be dismissed lightly. Obviously he speaks with a sense of deep feeling and conviction about this matter. His contribution was largely a scathing attack on the Bill. I want to quote three of the many disturbing points made by Senator O'Leary. As reported at column 185 of the Official Report he states:

I have read carefully the Minister's Second Stage speech and it does not adequately make the case, or even begin to make the case, for the introduction of many of these revolutionary changes into our criminal law.

At column 186 he states:

I would like to turn to something to which the Minister referred and which was referred to earlier today, section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act. I must warn the Minister that he is being misled: he is allowing himself to be misled in this regard.

At column 189 he states:

I can only believe with regard to the attitude adopted by the Minister and his portrayal of section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act as not being emergency legislation that he has inadequately understood or been inadequately briefed with regard to the total truth.

Finally, at column 224 Senator O'Leary concluded:

But, as it is presented in the Bill, the concept of detention is fraught with danger and I would have considerable difficulty in supporting its implementation and enactment into law.

Those are very disturbing quotations, but I must agree with the Senator's emphasis on crime prevention rather than detection as being more desirable. The fact that Senator O'Leary had to vacate his place and that he felt so strongly about the Bill as to make those scathing attacks leaves me somewhat apprehensive.

A crime is defined as a legal wrong that can be followed by criminal proceedings which may result in punishment. Criminal law is concerned with conduct which the State considers should be punished. I believe that the police cannot clean up crime and control violence in the same way as medical science in some countries can eliminate such things as a plague. The three components in the proper functioning of criminal justice are detection, trial and punishment. But suppose this State, because of the legislation before us, or any other statutes, was able to achieve a 100 per cent detection rate, are our trial system and punishment centres geared for this situation? It seems the answer is they most definitely are not. At present our courts are jammed and our prisons are crammed. Not alone are our jails overflowing but, as has been said, we have a revolving door situation. Last year over 1,300 prisoners were shed or released before it was considered proper to do so because of space limitations.

Conditions are also very bad in our prisons. Mountjoy cells date back to 1845 and these have been doubled up. Instead of being enlarged, space actually has been reduced for prisoners in what is supposed to be an enlightened age. This Bill will result or is intended to result, in more people being imprisoned. Fianna Fáil had a very good record with regard to a prison building programme but this Government have cut back drastically. The result is the prison building programme is far behind.

There are many causes of crime. Among the causes would be the unfortunate situation in Northern Ireland. As a result of this, as many other Senators have pointed out, we have not alone the financial implications as a result of the arbitrary division of our country by England but we have also this overspill of crime. Unemployment is a very big factor. As has been mentioned in this House before, that is not to say that those working should be blamed. It is because the unemployed have too much time on their hands. The provision of employment for our people is a big challenge for any Government. Lack of education is a very big problem and the cause of much crime, as has been pointed out in the prison reports. In our prisons, adult education is carried on to a limited extent. This should be extended. Adult education in the vocational education colleges and schools could be extended and this also would be a factor in reducing crime. Broken homes are another problem. In such cases young boys and girls start off with a great disadvantage. The preparation courses that are mandatory for Catholics before they get married are most important. Bad housing is a factor. Many people live in overcrowded and bad conditions. It is extraordinary when we have so many people unemployed that these could not be channelled into productive areas such as the building of houses. This would solve two problems at the one time. People who are unemployed have too much time on their hands. They have nothing to look forward to. People in a position to know say that we have a bigger percentage of poor people now than in the past. Poverty may exist to a chronic extent in some areas but overall poverty is not the poverty that we used to know in my time when poverty meant you did not have proper meals. This would not happen very often today. It is not enough to feed and clothe people. Human beings are not animals. They want some incentive and something more than that, Patrick Kavanagh said poverty is in the mind and to a large extent, it is. I decry this gap between our affluent society and people who have nothing. This must be bridged.

Lack of leisure facilities are another problem. We have more leisure time now on our hands. People are not trained to make use of their leisure time. There are better opportunities in the country. There is fishing, golf and so on. Golf seems to be the domain of the better off although there has been a big change in that situation since my youth. Discos seem to have taken the place of dance-halls. This is no advantage for the youth. Perhaps I do not understand the situation. At times when I pass a hall where a disco has been held on the previous night the evidence of the disco is vomit and blood on the footpath. This is unfortunate. Something should and must be done about this. Alcohol is another factor. This has always been a problem in Ireland. I am not against alcohol. I am not aware that I ever did anything wrong because I had taken a drink. Alcohol is taken to solve problems: a broken home or marriage or an unfortunate family situation. Alcohol solves no problem. It only introduces more problems.

All the crimes that have and are being committed would be impossible to list. Murders, robberies, rape and sexual offences, muggings, the taking of vehicles, firearm offences and vandalism are daily features in our papers. Juvenile crime is a big problem in Ireland. In the Official Report of 2 November 1983 Deputy Woods said:

Two other features are important when we come to examine the incidence and the extent of present-day crime and look for solutions. One is the incidence of juvenile crime committed by youths under 17 years of age. These account for 33 per cent of all crime. In Dublin north inner city it has been found that some 50 youths are responsible for over 50 per cent of all juvenile crime. Some of them have been arrested up to 17 times over the past three months. In the view of the Garda, the principal problem is the lack of (a) parental control and responsibility and (b) any suitable place to put them following the granting of a fit person's order. Because of this, they develop and graduate into a life of big-time crime. We have a very specific problem with juveniles.

I agree totally that we have a very specific and big problem with juveniles because these young people will be the grown-ups of tomorrow. In that context, as Deputy Woods said, parental control and responsibility is a big problem. I am not sure what can be done there. Obviously, this irresponsibility is as criminal as the behaviour of the children.

I should like to say a few words about the Garda and to pay tribute to this wonderful force who have played such an important part in the life of this State since its inception. I know that within the Garda as in any other body there have been members who have not lived up to the very high ideals that we associate with the force but I believe these to be very few. The Garda do a very difficult job. They are our friends.

There are some aspects, as Senators have already said, that could be looked at. The training programme is not sufficient. There should be better training and gardaí given the opportunity later to attend college and have their training taken into consideration in the context of those further studies. Something could be done in the area of recruitment. There is a minimum height requirement for gardaí but I do not see why this stipulation could not be dropped. There is no such requirement in some other countries.

As Senators have said, the community watch idea has been most successful. In my own area of County Meath there is a neighbourhood watch which I believe is most successful. It grew out of a spate of robberies in the town.

In this Bill there is a proposal to abolish the right of an accused to make an unsworn statement. I do not disagree with this. I argue also that majority jury verdicts at criminal trials should apply. This is a necessary change. It is a move in the right direction. Majority verdicts already apply in other countries. The tape recording of the questioning of suspects will be carried out at some time in the future. There may be technical problems with this but it should be implemented as soon as possible. Perhaps it is an area, too, where there would be some reason for misgivings because tapes can be interfered with. Perhaps videos would be a better method to employ when the opportunity presents itself.

In common with other Members of the House, I agree that the Bill should have safeguards. The Minister has promised a Garda Complaints Commission. This is necessary because there should be certain minimum precautions parallel with this Bill. This should be a statutory provision rather than an advisory one. The Minister had plenty of time to have had the legislation drafted and brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas. However, I am confident that he will make provision for such a commission, though since he has not done anything in such a long space of time. I am somehow apprehensive about this.

While the incidence of crime is higher in the urban areas and much higher again in the cities, there are problems, too, in rural areas where in many cases old people living alone live in fear. We learn of these problems from the media. I am not sure what can be done about it. Perhaps the provision of telephones for old people in isolated areas would be of help.

It is not good enough to say that crime is not as bad as the media portray. Old people living alone, are fearful at night, particularly the long nights. We have moved a long way from the old days when we were taught at school to be kind to everybody — even those who had to beg for a living. I recall a line from a beautiful poem which read:

She is somebody's mother, boys, you know

Although she is feeble, old and slow.

We have moved a long way from that. As Christians we know of the mystical body of Christ and are taught that in every person we meet we should see the person of Christ. In a Christian country it is very difficult to understand why old people living on their own in isolated areas must live in fear and dread.

I agree that it is necessary to have policemen on the beat. If this is practicable on any large scale, it is a move in the right direction. It is a way of preventing crime.

I agree with other Members that prevention is much better than detection. We must ask ourselves if this is the only way or the best way of tackling the problem. All the other ways of helping people regarding employment, education and housing must be explored also.

I should just like to say a few words about Nicky Kelly. Nicky Kelly has been released since we last discussed this matter. Before his release I was terribly concerned with the situation that existed then. There must be something lacking in the process of law when his release did not take place through legal channels. It is not good enough to say that he was released on humanitarian grounds. After his appearance on last Saturday's "Late Late Show" which unfortunately I did not see, some people approached me to say that they were very concerned about the situation. I will not say any more about this.

With regard to people on remand being put in with the worst criminals in our prisons under this Bill, in my view that is unfortunate. It is also unfortunate that legal aid is not available to people until they are charged. This matter should be seriously examined by the Minister, and also the fact that ordinary decent people are victimised because of this. I agree that drug related crimes are a major problem and I agree with the crackdown on drug pushers.

It has been said that one effect of this Bill will be less concentration on detection and more on interrogation. I hope this will not happen. This is an area about which I would be apprehensive. Under this Bill the six hours detention period can be increased to 12 hours and when the period from midnight to 8 a.m. comes between, this detention period can be for as long as 20 hours.

At the end of the day we will have to ask ourselves what kind of society we want. We will have to eliminate the very big problem of stolen property which can be sold without any great difficulty. Thugs will have to be dealt with firmly. In my opinion, there is too much admiration in our society for the man who can settle an argument with a thump of the fist. I have no great pity for these people.

It has been said that restrictive and oppressive legislation is very bad. This is something with which I agree wholeheartedly. As I said at the beginning, we must assist the Garda in their difficult task and we must look in a broad way at the rights of society. I believe that this Bill, with the necessary amendments, will be a great help in the way forward. Once again, I urge the Minister to reduce the four-year trial period to three years.

I do not intend to speak at length. There are two schools of thought about this Bill. The first is that there should not be a Bill at all, and the second is that the Bill could be amended. The first school of thought should be dismissed as veering towards the irresponsible; The second approach is the proper one. First I should like to ask a question: are there follow-up exercises carried out when the criminal is released to find out if he or she went back to crime or back to a normal life? I am speaking now about rehabilitation in prison. There is not much point putting people in prison if you do not carry out rehabilitation education exercises. I should like to get some information on this during this debate.

The State has responsibility to protect its citizens by way of law enforcement. For those people who worry whether the parties in the Government programme had a mandate for this specific legislation, let them put it out of their minds: it is an ever-present mandate for a State or nation to protect its citizenry. This is especially so in our case. The crime rate is going up and the detection rate is going down. There was a clear indication that something had to be done; and this is what had to be done — the introduction of this Bill in its amended form. But there is always a balance to be drawn between individual liberty and the common good. This is where that exercise and sensitivity come in. That has been done in the Bill, especially with the amendments.

May I make an observation about the right to silence? Whoever thought up the abolition of the right to silence needs his head examined. It is a clear indication of immaturity. The right to silence can never be abolished. At the same time it is qualified by inferences drawn from silence. You cannot stop anybody from doing this. This is a most sensitive area. Inferences can be very dangerous if not properly drawn and drawn without reasonable conjecture in regard to the case.

I welcome the four-year experimental period in regard to detention. People are concerned and worried about detention. My experience as chairman of the Police Complaints Board in Northern Ireland for five years was that you cannot carry out a proper investigation without detention, during which questions are asked by the investigating officers. It is nearly an impossibility to carry out a proper investigation without detention. The six hours are not very great. They are not alarming. In other words, detention is necessary. Those people who attack detention are not sufficiently experienced or sophisticated to recognise the necessity for detention.

The withholding of information is straightforward. It is a break with the law. I appreciate that it is very hard to ask a person to put the finger on somebody else. That is very difficult, but the withholding of information remains a break with the law. I still cannot remember what the third one was. Can anybody help me here?

That is nearly all I have to say by way of commending the Bill. I will be voting for the Bill in its amended form.

Dabate adjourned.