The introduction of new criminal offences and changes to sentencing demonstrate Fine Gael’s commitment to keeping communities safe, Kildare South TD and Minister Martin Heydon has said.

Minister Heydon said, “My colleague, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, has announced a range of new criminal offences, as well as tougher sentences for existing offences, under the Criminal Justice Act (Miscellaneous Provisions) 2023.

“This landmark legislation will target violent and organised crime, and violence against gardaí and other emergency service workers. This legislation will allow the maximum sentence for assault causing harm in domestic abuse cases, as well as in other assaults, increasing from five to 10 years.

“The scope of the existing harassment offence is widened to include any conduct that seriously interferes with a person’s peace and privacy, or causes alarm, distress, or harm. It will also create a new standalone offence of stalking, which will have a maximum sentence of up to 10 years.

“These new laws and tougher sentences will reassure those across Kildare that the Government is working towards making our communities safer. Gardaí and emergency workers throughout Kildare can also be reassured with the introduction of new provisions that ensure better protections. The maximum sentence for assaulting or threatening to assault a garda or other on-duty emergency worker is increasing from 7 to 12 years.

“These changes will provide the courts with a tougher range of sentences to take account of the severity of assaults and sends a message that these crimes will not be tolerated. I am delighted to see these common-sense measures being introduced which will enhance the powers of our courts and protecting communities in Kildare,” concluded Minister Heydon.