Fine Gael introduced a bill to the Dail trying to facilitate greater violence by homeowners against burglars. This bill has been in the offing for a while and is more or less a direct response to the Nally case last year, where a homeowner, Padraig Nally, was jailed for manslaughter for shooting a wounded traveller in the head at close range after he'd already shot him.
The bill itself was typical of the stupid crap that politicians get up to in the Dail:
- It only dealt with acts inside the home, the 'intruder' in the Nally case never entered the house, he was just trespassing on Nally's land.
- It would have made effectively no difference since the current law already gives homeowners the right to self-defence in their home. In general, the law mandates that victims should "retreat" wherever possible rather than "having a go", but one is not considered to be able to retreat from one's own home.
- There are no known cases of householders who have been prosecuted for using reasonable force against burglars (shooting somebody and pursuing them to shoot them again and kill them is not generally considred a reasonable response to trespass).
- The bill was never intended to pass and sure enough it was voted down by the government. It was simple law-and-order willy-waving for the benefit of the tabloids.
But what is even stupider than the whole sorry charade of this ridiculous bill were the claims made by Michael McDowell and Inda Kenny in the debate. Inda claimed that he had fought off two knife wielding muggers, while McDowell had defended his father's house with a poker from two burglars.
As I commented over on indymedia Ireland:
These stories are ridiculously implausible. Enda is an effeminate toff. McDowell is a rich-boy nerd who couldn't even make it onto the rugby team in a small school that is crap at rugby (although you can bet he wanted to, he fancies himself as "manly").
These stories are on the same level as Royston's "my dad was kidnapped by the UDA" and Kevin Myers's "I have received many death threats from the IRA" yarns.
Enda's story is particularly stupid. Anybody who "has a go" at two knife wielding desperadoes is an absolute idiot. The first thing that you learn in most martial arts is "if you encounter a stranger with a knife - no matter how good you are - give them what they want or run away". It is an indication of the pretentious, secondary school, slagging-match atmosphere that permeates the Dail that these idiots are swapping Rambo brags to compete about who's the toughest.
Now it seems that Enda had a Royston moment when he realised that some mischevious journalists were going to fact check this, look for garda reports and so on. He desperately changed his story to claim that the mugging took place in 1994 in Kenya. And how this had reference to Irish law is left unexplained. Also interesting to note that he has never mentioned this mugging in the intervening 12 years, for example in this debate about mugging from 1995
, when he was minister for tourism, he names several of the most dangerous countries for mugging, but Kenya doesn't get a name check.
Badman thinks that the bad men are telling pork pies! Can we just cut to the chase and liven up the whole sorry excuse for an election campaign that we'll face for the next year. Inda gets a knife, McDowell gets a poker, all other TDs get molotovs. The floor of the dail is the fighting pit. Let's get it on and settle this like real men!