Mandatory Sentences of Imprisonment in Common Law Jurisdictions: Some Representative Models

5. Republic of Ireland

5.1 Summary

Irish law provides mandatory sentences for three offences: murder, attempted murder and high treason. The legislation provides a life sentence for murder and treason. It also provides a minimum 40 years imprisonment for the murder and/or a minimum of 20 years imprisonment for the attempted murder of a member of the Garda Síochána, a prison officer, or a political murder. The mandatory sentences were created by the Criminal Justice Act (1990). (See Appendix D.)

5.2 Overview of Sentencing Framework

As with most other common law jurisdictions, Ireland courts have considerable discretion at the sentencing stage of the criminal process. No formal sentencing guidelines exist at present nor does Ireland have any codified sentencing purposes or principles. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any plans to place sentencing principles on a statutory footing in the near future.

5.3 Impact and Future of Mandatory Sentencing in Ireland

No impact analysis has been published with respect to sentencing in Ireland and there appears to be no likelihood that additional mandatory sentences will be adopted in the near future.

5.4 References and Further Reading

O'Donnell, I. (2001) Sentencing and Punishment in Ireland . In: M. Tonry (ed.) Penal Reform in Overcrowded Times . New York : Oxford University Press.

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