Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reasonable, Non?

New legislation introduced in Ireland today says that a person who uses reasonable force cannot be sued for damages by a burglar and will not be guilty of an offence. Residents will now be legally entitled to use reasonable force when defending themselves against intruders. This is part of the new Criminal Law Defence and Dwelling Act 2011. While this does raise the debate of what constitutes 'reasonable force', I'm not sure this amendment will make any difference to residents. It brings back to mind the case of Pádraig Nally from October 2004 and begs the question is this just more meaningless legislation?

Our home was broken into 4 years ago while we were away, the entire house ransacked but mostly the boys' consoles and gadgets were taken . It seemed like I had disturbed the burglars as there were several items that were left behind (laptop, jewellery etc). I phoned the Gardaí immediately and promptly waited 3 and a half hours for them to show up.

As a single Mam and the only responsible (I am!) adult in casa Cherry this worries me greatly. Of course I have my Dad & big burly brother (don't tell him I said that) 10 minutes away but what if things were different? Would I use any force necessary to protect my family and home? You bet your sweet bippy I would!

That's when I made the decision to adopt Diesel, our big fat rottie. I have genuinely never slept as soundly as the first night he arrived (well maybe the second or third, he's a beast & even frightened me). While he's the biggest teddy bear you'll ever meet when we're up and about once we go to sleep it's like Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He sleeps on the landing, only getting up once or twice to pad about the house & come back but should he hear a noise, even distantly (Batfink like him) he loses his shizz. One of the many things I love about him.

I can safely say should someone break into our home (even after seeing the sign above), we're covered. I'll even go as far as admit that I might (definitely would) take longer to dial 999 than normal. Diesel's a growing boy, he needs his protein.

While I appreciate what you're trying to do, Mr. Shatter, I have an inkling that the majority of the country (world) feel exactly the same way I do. Single or not, female or not, parents or not. You're home is your castle and woe betide any one who dares to enter uninvited, be they legally entitled to sue for inevitable injuries or not.

What say you? Do you think today's legislation will make an iota of difference? 


Breige said...

The worst thing about that story is you waited 3 and half hours for the Guards to arrive, that's disgraceful!

Unknown said...

We have the same sign on the gat

Hannah said...

I really don't think the new legislation will make a huge difference, but it's still good that it now exists! The "reasonable force" bit will be broadly interpreted and the other Torts (trespass and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the burglar and battery, assault, false imprisonment etc etc where the owner is defending their property) will be used to decide on that, probably on a case by case basis. :o)

Girlwiththeskew-earring said...

I think its great the the legislation now exists to protect the home-owner.

I moved continents to lessen the likelihood of this happening to us. Coming from a place where (violent, often deadly) home invasions do not even make the news anymore, I worry constantly about my folks and Brother who are still there.

You can be sure that I would go batshit-postal-crazy on any idiot who threatens me or my kids.

Unfortunately we are renting in a property where the landlord does not allow pets. But as soon as we have been here for 2 years I will be appealing this and hoping to get a dog. As a child we always had dogs (for security and company) and I miss them terribly.

cornflakegirl said...

Great post Sue.

The thing about this legislation is that we won't know how it's implemented til a case is taken and then we're gonna have the 'Well, what's reasonable force anyway?' debate.

I'm not convinced it'll make a lot of difference to be honest.