Corporal punishment wouldn't deter thugs
Recent comments by the Mayor of Clare Cllr James Breen sparked a debate on the standard of living enjoyed by Irish prison inmates when he demanded that corporal punishment should be introduced for those convicted of burglary and violent crimes against the residents of the homes they target.
While this is never likely to happen it reflected the anger and fear that has permeated rural communities across the country.
Thanks to these heartless and vicious thugs the truth is that lots of people live in fear of the day when their home will be targeted.
Corporal punishment isn't likely to deter those career criminals who spend months of their lives incarcerated only to be released and return to their law breaking ways but I can understand the frustration Cllr Breen must feel as a public representative. He is hearing stories from victims week in, week out and wants to make some sort of contribution to the ever worsening situation.
Sometimes, it takes an off the wall comment such as this to propel an issue into the public domain and he certainly managed that. The issue of rural crimes has been a hot topic of late but little is changing.
These gangs are still wreaking havoc on innocent people, many of them elderly, and it feels like nothing is being done about it.
People are frightened so they won't contact Gardaí either and without solid information Gardaí have no starting point.
Along with his suggestion for the introduction of corporal punishment, Cllr Breen also slated the prison system and said that prisoners are being treated like 'royalty'.
I'm sure it is no picnic inside, but compared to the conditions some offenders of underprivileged backgrounds are used to, it is the lap of luxury and therefore holds no weight as a deterrent.
What Cllr Breen wants to see is what we all want - a meaningful and effective way of deterring criminals and preventing these crimes.
Things simply cannot continue as they have been. Irish citizens deserve better. Those of us who contribute to society and try and live good lives shouldn't be held to ransom by those who couldn't care less. The balance is tipped right on its head at the moment and why corporal punishment is an extreme option, the sentiment behind it is no laughing matter.