Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte has brought forward a new Fagin’s Law Bill to create a new offence of grooming or inciting a child to commit a crime.
The Criminal Law (Recruitment of Children to Engage in Criminal Activity) Bill 2018, also known as “Fagin’s Law” was introduced in the Dáil and is expected to be supported by all parties.
Deputy Rabbitte explained: “This Bill follows on from a recommendation contained in the tenth report by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Geoffrey Shannon, who identified a major gap in Irish law, in this area.
“The prevalence of crimes being committed by children is on the rise – with statistics revealing that almost 1 in 10 crimes in Ireland in 2014 were committed by children.”
A similar “Fagin’s Law” was introduced in the Australian state of Victoria and has proved very successful.
“There is no doubt that some of these children were groomed or pressured into carrying out these crimes, in some cases by parents, older siblings or other young adults in their communities.
“As it stands, while incitement to commit criminal offences is an offence, it can often prove difficult to secure a prosecution in cases involving minors. While children must accept personal responsibility, we have to acknowledge that there are unscrupulous individuals who target vulnerable children and coerce them into carrying out crimes. This needs to be tackled,” added Deputy Rabbitte.
There is already all-party agreement on the principle of this Bill and the it is expected that Minister Zappone facilitates its passage in the coming weeks.
Deputy O’Callaghan said that “too many Bills are getting lost in the bureaucracy of the system, and an issue of this magnitude cannot be allowed to slip off the agenda.”