The Deputy's question concerns the parole process as it might apply to a particular prisoner serving a life sentence for murder.
The Deputy will appreciate that while I cannot comment on individual cases, I can say that public safety is of paramount concern when I make decisions on the sentence management of a prisoner following recommendations made by the Parole Board. My priority is that other families would not have to suffer the consequences of another serious crime.
I am aware of how harmful the consequences of crime can be for victims. I can assure the Deputy that each case is considered on its individual merits and that I and the Parole Board take into account the full range of circumstances including the nature and gravity of the offence, the potential threat to public safety, the risk of re-offending and the conduct of the prisoner.
Additionally, while it is essential that the sensitivities and concerns of victims of crime should be carefully considered, other factors, such as the rehabilitation of offenders and their safe reintegration into the community, must also be considered.
I am engaged in supporting the passage through the Houses of a private members Bill, currently before the Dáil, which will create a new statutory Parole Board. This Bill provides a valuable opportunity to discuss and address many important issues relating to the parole process.