Stopping social welfare payments to rioters would provide their victims with “recognition”, TD Patrick O’Donovan has said.
The Minister of State for the OPW and the Gaeltacht has said the Government needs to deal harshly with those responsible for last week’s violence.
He also predicted that some rioters would receive non-custodial sentences and said there should be financial penalties instead.
“They could be given probation, they could be given a non-custodial sentence,” he told Lunchtime Live.
“In which case, I believe there should be some financial recognition to the workers, to the shoe shops, to the companies up and down the street that had their stock looted.”
He described disorder as “not just an issue in Dublin” and that the riots must mean a re-evaluation of the Government’s law and order policies.
“I have been a long time on the record as saying that the revolving door situation where people are out on bail, where they have multiple prosecution already levelled against them, that is a situation that, ultimately, to be quite honest about it, in most people’s minds has come to a head now,” he said.
“I think there’s a watershed moment and people want to see real tough penalties, not in terms of what happened last Thursday, but in terms of incidents that are happening up and down the country.”
Minister O’Donovan said the “vast majority” of the public want more prison places and longer custodial sentences.
“I’m on the record for a long-time as being one of a number of people who believe that we should have far tougher sentences,” he said.
“Sentences and prosecution that don’t just involve custodial sentences… Maybe the events of last week have [meant] that people like myself have all of a sudden gotten listened to more?”
Sinn Féin has said it has “no confidence” in Justice Minister Helen McEntee but Minister O’Donovan defended his colleagues and her efforts to tackle crime.
“The weight of the entire population of Ireland is behind her,” he said.
“We have a situation where the Minister for Justice, when she wanted to bring in facial recognition technology, ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’
“When we wanted to [provide] body cams on Guards, ‘Oh, you can’t do that’ - from a variety of different groups and organisations.”
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Main image: A fire on Dublin's O'Connell Street during looting and rioting on 23/11/2023. Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie