‘Law will not allow people to resort to violence’

The recent introduction of a new law which allows homeowners to use reasonable force against intruders in their own homes has been given a guarded welcome by the county’s most senior Garda chief.

The recent introduction of a new law which allows homeowners to use reasonable force against intruders in their own homes has been given a guarded welcome by the county’s most senior Garda chief.

Superintendent Denis Shields said the implementation of the Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2011 almost two weeks ago must be strictly adhered to.

“It doesn’t give anybody a licence to use violence against people,” he said. “What it does allow is for people to protect their home and to use reasonable force.”

The law was introduced in a bid to remove any lingering doubt on the issue of self-defence in the home, much of which stemmed from the high profile Padraig Nally case in 2005.

After being sentenced to six years imprisonment for manslaughter, the County Mayo farmer’s conviction was quashed in October 2006, two months before he was found not guilty of manslaughter.

Supt Sheilds said while people now have legal protection under the act, the Longford town superintendent was anxious to stress that each case would be judged on its own merits.

To read this story in full see this week’s Longford Leader.