Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has said, from what he can remember, his father was “ a thug and a bully”. He made the comment in a contribution to a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, which was discussing submissions on domestic and sexual violence.
During the speech on Wednesday night, at the end of which he received a round of applause, the Shannon-based senator said he was not sure how his family would react to his sharing these personal details but said he thought nothing had changed in Ireland since then with regards to this issue.
As regards gardaí being called out to investigate an alleged domestic incident, he remarked, “What’s perpetrated at the time is an absolute assault, right, and it is a criminal act, and we need to treat it as a criminal act,” he said.
More power should be given to gardaí, as first responders to these incidents, Senator Mulcahy suggested, adding that community courts, or peace commissioners should be more involved in automatically signing arrest warrants as soon as an assault occurs.
“When the guard comes to a house, he should then be investigating a crime because it is a crime then, it doesn’t become a crime after and that’s what we’ve got to do – we’ve got to empower the guard to take his statement then, give his own version as a witness statement, photograph the scene of the crime – and by jaysus I’ve seen one or two of them and I witnessed it in my own house, right, at the time – and if the victim is willing for that, she, he or the children, whoever the case may be should be photographed at that stage as well and a doctor should be called immediately.
That’s when you set the bar. And I don’t want to go along with ‘where are we going to house the woman that has to leave the house with the children?’. The criminal is the guy that should be taken out of the house, or a woman as the case may be, because in that event as well, we need to remove the criminal from the house and then we’d solve a lot of the housing problems. And if these people knew that there was going to be a criminal charge on foot of their actions, we might eliminate 50 or 60% before they started at all,” he said.