The body representing Irish criminals has welcomed a High Court ruling that suspended sentences are unconstitutional.
In a statement on behalf of the Association of Irish Criminals (AIC), spokesman Barry Smallbore said This is a historic day for criminal rights in Ireland.
Speaking outside the High Court, Mr Smallbore pointed out that Irish criminals deserve protection under the equality laws.
Our members are the most oppressed minority in Ireland, said Mr Smallbore. Irish criminals are probably the minority most harassed by the police. If our members were African or Muslim, we’d be entitled to equality and it’s not our fault that Africans and Muslims aren’t committing enough crimes to qualify for membership of the AIC.
The only reason the Gardai are oppressing our members is because we are criminals, and that’s simply not on.
Responding to questions about the High Court decision to strike down the law permitting imprisonment of people who commit a further crime while serving a suspended sentence, Mr Smallbore was direct.
Let me say this. There are people right now in jail solely on the basis that they are criminals. For no other reason. Are you going to tell their wives, their children, their mothers and grandmothers that they should be in jail just for being criminals?
We in the Association of Irish Criminals welcome the High Court decision and we look forward to the Supreme Court confirming the judgement. Nobody should be in jail solely due to membership of a minority. Criminals deserve the same respect as any other oppressed group in our society.