On Wednesday 22nd February 2017, VSE members AdVIC reached a milestone. It is not many – if indeed any – charitable organisation that can boast their own Bill being presented to the Oireachtas. Thanks to AdVIC Patron, Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell, their dream became a reality when the second reading of the Minimum Custodial Periods Upon Conviction for Murder Bill 2017 was brought before the Senate. For the first time in Irish Parliament, AdVIC brought to the Upper House, the proposal that those convicted of murder should serve a minimum of 25, 30 or 40 years depending on case circumstances.
The Gallery in the Senate was full of AdVIC families and friends whom had lost loved ones though unlawful killings. Senator O’Donnell gave an impassioned plea on behalf of families as to why this Bill was so important, not just for loved ones left behind, but for society in general. The Bill was ably supported by two other Senators, but unfortunately other Senators felt compelled to extol (the sometimes inexplicable party line) on such matters.
All Senators however were in agreement that as this matter was so important that it required further review. This being so the House agreed that the Bill be sent to the Justice Committee for further consideration. It is anticipated that AdVIC representatives (as well as other interested organisations) will be invited to present to the Committee in due course. Senator O’Donnell has now written to the Justice Committee requesting same, and we eagerly await their response.
To be forgotten is to die twice. Bills such as this one, ensure that AdVIC will never forget its loved ones whom have gone before us. If AdVIC do nothing else, they do it for them.