Should Ireland reintroduce capital punishment?

The last execution in Ireland took place in 1954, however the death penalty was only removed from statue in 1990. Image by: Jody Trappe
The last execution in Ireland took place in 1954, however the death penalty was only removed from statue in 1990. Image by: Jody Trappe

If you believe that there is true value in the concept of life, then you surely agree that Ireland is better off without capital punishment.

Yes, there are vile criminal cases that occur that make the public question whether the assailant deserves the right to life – but no one should ever be granted the right to take a life.

Ghandhi said, ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’, and there is an eternal truth in this.

The idea of taking somebodies life as a form of legal revenge against someone who has committed a murder, rape or any other vile act has a major flaw, not to mention the moral and human right dilemma it also holds.

If capital punishment – or the ‘eye for an eye’ method of justice – was reintroduced as a form of exacting justice for a punishment that fits the crime, this would result in a purely mathematical injustice.

A life for a life in some people’s mind may be an archaic form of justice but what about a person who has committed multiple murders, or vile acts. Then it becomes a life for multiple lives. And hence the person who has committed the same crime multiple times will receive the same punishment as that of someone who has committed the crime on just one occasion. Is that justice?

This will also lead to the idea that one person’s life is worth the same value of that of many stolen lives. Is that justice?

In 2010 the then Mayor of Limerick, Kevin Kiely, asked the government for a referendum on the reintroduction of the death penalty in Ireland as a way to curb the increasing numbers of murders.

In July of this year, Jim Callaly, father of murdered Rachel O’Reilly, called for the death penalty to be reintroduced to act as a deterrent to those who plan to commit murder.

Contrary to these opinions, a report conducted by Amnesty International in 2012 states that the according to FBI data “the 14 states without capital punishment have homicide rates below the national average”.

The death penalty has been called for to introduce a form of justice to the judicial system. According to the same 2012 report that, “140 people have been released from death rows…due to evidence of their wrongful conviction”.

To quote Maimonides; “It is better a thousand guilty persons go free than to put a single innocent one to death.”

My deepest sympathies go out to any person whose live has been altered by a serious crime. The best way to combat this in the future is to reform the Irish judicial system and create a fully functional system that strictly impinges on the lives of those who commit serious offensives.

A DNA database, proper jail sentences, a more efficient and better equipped police force would all be steps towards improving the safety of those in this country and insuring a better sense of justice is being served.

We should not allow our moral compass to become skewed.

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